Air Force rescues stranded school children in Kathua

Thursday, August 26, 2010

KATHUA - An Air Force helicopter rescued and airlifted three school children, after they were stranded for nearly four hours at an island in the middle of river Ujh in Jammu and Kashmir’s Kathua district.

The three children got trapped in the gushing river water while returning home from the school and managed to take shelter at an island in the middle of the river on Wednesday.

These children like all the other residents of their village Jathana used to wade across the river daily to reach their school.

In the absence of any bridge, the river has been the only link to the rest of the district.

After battling for nearly four hours, the locals contacted the police authorities to arrange for rescue and support for the trapped children.

Soon the helicopter from the nearby Air Force base flew in and airlifted the stranded children to a safer spot.

“We had approached the government and with their help we were able to rescue the children through the chopper. The children, residents of the Jathana village, study at the higher secondary school,” said Devender Singh, a local.

“This village faces a lot of problems; the locals have to cross the river for connecting to the other side.

For ration purposes, studies, medical facilities, they have to cross the river. The population of Jathana is approximately 15,000. Since India’s independence this village has not been given any facilities,” he added.

The villagers have been demanding the construction of a wooden bridge across river Ujh, but their request has often fallen on deaf ears.

However, due to incessant rain for past one week in the upper reaches of the Himalayan state, the water level in Ujh River also did rise and crossed the danger mark. By Pradeep Sharma (ANI)

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