After 18 days, eight of the 19 Assam workers, who went missing near the India-China border in Arunachal Pradesh’s Kurung Kumey district, were rescued from a jungle, officials said on Saturday night.
Kurung Kumey Deputy Commissioner Bengia Nighee said that all the eight rescued workers were critical and their health condition is being monitored by a medical team after they were rescued from the dense forest on Friday night.
The IAF chopper, which was requisitioned by the administration, came but could not search properly due to bad weather at Damin circle in spite of best efforts by its pilots.
“Remaining 11 people still missing and as per the preliminary statements of eight rescued workers, four of them were dead, and two had fallen in the river. Our rescue team didn’t recover or see the dead bodies. This death story was told by the rescued workers,” the DC said.
The state government requested the IAF to evacuate the rescued workers to Naharlagun near Itanagar where they would be admitted to a hospital. The IAF chopper, which carried out a search operation for the remaining 11 workers on Saturday, was likely to be used in the evacuation.
“Their statements would be recorded once the workers recover. They were found tired and frail. We gave them food, water, and medicines,” Nighee said.
The DC, who was supervising the rescue operations himself, said after fleeing their project site camp at Huri on July 5 night, the 19 workers had entered a dense forest infested with poisonous snakes and wild animals. Subsequently, the workers split themselves into two groups of eight and 11, and the other group of 11 had moved in a different direction.
He said that a 25-member team of the State Disaster Response Force accompanied by the police and local volunteers have been conducting search operations for the remaining missing people in Damin circle.
The 19 workers, mostly Muslims and residents of Assam, had been engaged by a contractor to work for a road construction undertaken by the Border Road Organisation (BRO).
Villagers reportedly informed the police that the workers left their work site after the contractor refused to grant leave for some days to celebrate Eid. The workers had taken a shortcut jungle route to return to their homes in Kokrajhar and Dhubri of Assam.