Dial 100 comes to the rescue of devotees stranded in forest

The Valmikipuram police of Madanapalle division late on Saturday evening rescued a group of five devotees in the forests of Veeranna Hill. The devotees lost their way on downward journey, straying towards Madanapalle range.

The rescued included a 28-year-old woman, her 7-year-old son and three girls of the neighbourhood aged between 15 and 18.

According to information, the five persons of Gandhipeta in Valmikipuram mandal headquarters reached the temple of Lord Veerabhadra Swamy atop the hill on February 21 evening to take part in the Sivaratri festivities.

A far-flung temple

The temple turns into a devotional frenzy only on Sivaratri day, and remains desolate all year round, giving way to thick vegetation and wild grass, where all foot trails get obliterated.

After a night stay and lunch the next day (Saturday), they were on their return journey, when they chose a “short-cut route” suggested by a devotee to climb down the hill and lost their way.

They strayed far away into the thickets on the hillocks towards Madanapalle. With only a couple of hours left for the dusk to fall, they were a bundle of nerves.

But one in the group, Haritha (18), suggested that they use ‘Dial 100’ and seek help. When she made the distress call, information was passed on to Valmikipuram SI Venkateswarulu, who in turn alerted the station personnel. Soon, about half a dozen cops trekked the hillock, leading the search trail in four directions.

The rescue party traced the lost devotees at a valley point towards Madanapalle. All of them were brought to the police station at Valmikipuram. .

The woman said that the police personnel had reached them exactly at a time when the last drop of water in a bottle with them was spent. “After contacting Dial 100, we remained absolutely confident of the rescue and the fear had slowly left us,” Haritha said.

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