The Hindu

A brave baby’s night out on Kerala forest road

Infant crawls to safety of forest check post after fall from moving jeep; incident caught on CCTV

- SARATH BABU GEORGE

When a loud wail broke the silence of the forest late on Sunday night, the last thing section forest officers Jeethendra­nath and Sivadas at the Rajamala check post on the Munnar-Marayur Road expected to find was a baby girl. The infant with bruises on her forehead and nose, was crawling her way into the check post in an area frequented by wild animals, including elephants.

“We initially thought the child had been abandoned. But after checking the CCTV footage, we realised that she had fallen off the jeep. Fortunatel­y, she crawled towards the ticket counter, probably on seeing the light there,” Munnar Wildlife Warden R. Lekshmi said.

The footage, recorded at 9.42 p.m. on September 8, shows the miraculous escape, with the bruised infant crawling across the road and attempting to climb over a railing at the check post. Unable to do so, she then crawled around the railing into the post.

On watching the footage, the forest officials realised that the one-and-a-half-yearold had fallen off her sleeping mother’s lap from a jeep at a sharp curve on the Munnar-Marayur Road. The incident occurred at the point where the road forked towards the check post which marks the entry gate of the Eravikulam National Park.

The child was rushed to a private hospital in Munnar where she was administer­ed first-aid. By then, the Munnar police relayed informatio­n of the rescued child to all nearby police stations.

Her sleeping parents, Satheesh and Sathyabham­a, realised her absence only an hour later when they had neared their house in Kambilikan­dam, around 40 km away. The couple and their relatives were apparently on their way back from a pilgrimage to Palani.

The panic-stricken couple rushed to the Velathoova­l police station nearby, where they were informed that their child was safe. The toddler was reunited with her parents around 1 a.m. after their identities were confirmed, Munnar sub-inspector Santhosh K.M. said.

 ?? SPECIAL ARRANGEMEN­T ■ ?? Miraculous escape: A CCTV footage shows the child crawling on the Munnar-Marayur Road in Kerala on Sunday night. She sustained bruises on her face in the fall.
SPECIAL ARRANGEMEN­T ■ Miraculous escape: A CCTV footage shows the child crawling on the Munnar-Marayur Road in Kerala on Sunday night. She sustained bruises on her face in the fall.
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