Rescued after she held on to log for hours

Sunsari, August 14

Sanu Maya Rai, a school teacher, was rescued after four hours of struggle in a swollen river, in Sunsari, on Sunday morning. She was sleeping at her sister’s house in Gairigaun on Saturday night when the Budhi River swept her away.

However, she survived after drifting on water for 10 kilometres. She was taken to Duhabi Community Hospital after she was rescued by some people who were collecting driftwood from Duhabi on Sunday morning. Later she was taken to Itahari Community Hospital before being shifted to Dharan-based BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences. She was having respiratory problem and was unable to speak.

CPN-UML leader Rajendra Gautam, who travelled with Sanu Maya in an ambulance from Duhabi to Itahari, told THT that she held on to a log to stay afloat. “The rescuers thought the log was driftwood and grabbed it. Then they saw Sanu Maya holding on to it and rescued her,” said Gautam, quoting the rescuers. She had been communicating before arriving in Itahari.

A BEd first-year student at Itahari-based Janata Multiple Campus in Sunsari, Sanu Maya also teaches at a Montessori school. Sanu Maya had been living at her maternal uncle’s house in Itahari but had gone to her sister’s house at Gairigaun for her holiday on Saturday when floodwaters gushed into the house while she and her sister’s family were asleep.

Sanu Maya’s niece Kamala Rai gets goose bumps when she thinks of the night. “We were aware of the floods outside, but we didn’t go anywhere thinking that the water would not reach our home. Rather we slept. It was midnight when aunt Sanu Maya woke us up. The water level was up to our waist and we decided to hold on to the ceiling. Within no time, the water reached up to the ceiling and the house collapsed. We lost all hope of making through it alive. We shouted for help but our cries were lost in the darkness. My parents, both my brothers and aunt were swept away. My brother, Nishan, and I bumped into a tree at Gairigaun. We climbed up the tree and saved our lives,” recounted the survivor.

Kamala and Nishan were rescued by a police team on Sunday morning. She also met Sanu Maya at Duhabi the same morning. But her thoughts are for her father Raj Kumar, mother Ashadevi and youngest brother Nimesh. The family was preparing to celebrate Nimesh’s fourth birthday on August 19.