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Man washed away along with car by raging river in Sonmarg – safely resced

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In a miracle rescue, a man was pulled out of ice-cold waters of a raging river in Sonmarg, Kashmir, last Monday. Krishan Kanth Bhalla, 55, had been washed away by the swollen Sindh river along with his car and driver after an accident. His driver, Fayaz Ahmed Guroo, 32, has gone missing and a search is on to trace him. A few onlookers spotted Bhalla stranded in the middle of the river, along with his car on the morning of July 19, and alerted police. The police responded quickly and used a crane to reach Bhalla. They attached a safety cage to the hook and sent two men to fetch him. Heart-stopping visuals of the incident show the cage being lowered and the two rescuers helping Bhalla to climb the cage. Bhalla had spent over four hours in the middle of the river clinging on to his car which had struck a boulder. He said it was a miracle that he had survived. Bhalla, who runs a taxi business in Jawahar Nagar, Kashmir, met with the mishap while returning from a business trip. He said he had gone to drop a tourist to Kargill along with Guroo. They had stopped at Sonmarg a little before 3 am as Guroo, who was fasting for Ramzan, wanted to have breakfast. After leaving Sonmarg, Guroo drove for a few kms, with Bhalla in the seat next to him. He was driving at 80 kms per hour and had to make sharp right turn. He lost control, the car skidded for some distance, capsized and plunged into the Sindh river which was running close to the road. As the river had swollen with a fresh influx of water it dragged the car with it. As the ice cold water hit them, Bhalla remembers both of them crying out each other’s names to make sure they were ok. As the water flooded the compartment, he struggled to keep his head over it and noticed that Guroo was gone. The river carried the car for 2 to 3 kms. Luckily for Bhalla, it crashed into a boulder in the middle of the river and came to a halt. The crash broke the rear window of the car as well through which Bhalla managed to come out to seek help. He spent the next few hours clinging on to the car. He said he was afraid that the car would slip and get dragged into the river anytime. After day break, he noticed a few men on the nearby bank. He shouted, but his voice was drowned by the water splashing around him. He started whistling to get their attention. The men alerted the police, who rushed to rescue him. The ordeal has left him with a broken hand and few other minor injuries. Bhalla said the water at Sonmarg flows from the snowy Himalayas and is very cold especially in the mornings. He has no idea how he survived it. All he recalls is seeing water everywhere for hours and then spotting a few men on the bank. The local police said the river stretch was very dangerous and it was for the first time they were pulling out anyone alive. He is happy he survived but sad about Guroo, who is survived by a mother and two sisters. Guroo was engaged and was to marry after a few months, he notes.
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