A car escorting President Pranab Mukherjee’s convoy fell into a gorge near Sonada on its way back to Bagdogra from Darjeeling on Friday morning.
Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee’s car was just behind the Scorpio that met with the accident with five security officers. Special Security Wing (SSW) commandos rescued all the five persons from the vehicle that fell 30 feet below the road level within half an hour. They received injuries and were admitted to the hospital.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to the President to know about his well being after the incident. He also spoke to Banerjee. President praised Banerjee for overseeing the rescue work to ensure that everyone remains safe. He also praised the SSW commandos for the effort in rescuing the trapped policemen.
Police said that it was around 11.30 am, when the convoy had just crossed Sonada when suddenly the fourth car in the convoy marked “escort-II” was found rolling down into the gorge.
It rained overnight in most parts of Darjeeling. It was still drizzling when President and the Chief
Minister were returning to Bagdogra. The roads had turned slippery and it was foggy. It seems the car skidded on the slippery road and fell into the gorge.
Swarup Biswas, who was in Chief Minister’s car, raised an alarm and it attracted everyone’s attention. Driver of Banerjee’s car immediately applied brake when Biswas shouted. But before anything could be done the car began rolling down and got stuck 30 feet below.
The window panes of the vehicle broke. Without wasting a second, the SSW commandos, who were in-charge of Chief Minister’s security, initiated the rescue work.
The commandos were found crawling down a rope in search of the car in the gorge. They finally traced the Scorpio roughly at a depth of about 30 feet into the gorge where it had got stuck in a tree.
With Chief Minister continuously monitoring the rescue operations, the SSW commandos rescued each of the six people, one after another. The six persons included Special Superintendent of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) Deep Shankar Rudra, CSLO AP Singh, sub-inspector Pijus, SI SK Biswas of Darjeeling and driver Goutam Sen.
Rudra was the last person to be rescued. He was sitting in the front seat of the car and received severe injuries on his head and left eye.
The rest also received injuries. They were first provided first aid in the ambulance that was in the President’s convoy and subsequently taken to Siliguri District Hospital, where they were admitted.
Banerjee didn’t leave the place despite been requested repeatedly by her security personnel and continued monitoring the rescue work. She urged the officers those met with the accident to be mentally strong after they were rescued.
She also appreciated the commandos of the SSW for their excellent effort in rescuing everyone within the shortest time possible. She also announced to give them awards on August 15. Director (Security) ordered a probe into the incident.