A journalist in Odisha died after the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force boat he was in capsized in the Mahanadi river today, according to local media reports. The journalist, Arindam Das, worked as a chief reporter at Odisha Television Limited.
reported that another OTV journalist, cameraman Prabhat Sinha, is in the ICU ward of the SCB Medical College and Hospital in Cuttack and his condition is "critical". OTV , reporting that Das drowned "in the line of duty".
Das and Sinha were on board a rescue boat along with personnel of the ODRAF in order to rescue an elephant stranded in the floodwaters of the Mahanadi river. Five people were rescued from the boat, while one ODRAF team member, Sitaram Murmu, is still missing, Kalinga TV reported.
Bhubanananda Maharana, the emergency officer of SCB hospital, was quoted as saying that Das was received dead. They tried to revive him for more than an hour, he said, but could not.
Earlier in the day, the elephant was found stuck near the bridge, after it got separated from a herd of 17 that was attempting to cross the river, the reported. The elephant was stranded for more than nine hours. Forest department officials, ODRAF, and fire service personnel were mobilizsed to rescue it. Since the forest department was “clueless” on how to bring the elephant to a safer position, a boat with ODRAF personnel was sent to drive it near the shore.
Condolences for the journalist started pouring in on social media, including from the Odisha chief minister and governor.