Truck falls off cliff, cleaner dies

Youth falls into a gorge more than 200 feet below
Chennai: A 25-year-old cleaner of a tipper truck was killed in a freak mishap when the truck fell from a cliff into a gorge more than 200 ft below in a stone quarry in the Tirusulam hillock on Saturday morning. The truck was about 30-40 feet into the water and neither the vehicle nor the man had been retrieved till late evening. Around 9.50 am on Saturday, the empty truck was waiting in the compound of the L.R.T stone crusher company. The driver of the truck, G. Ramu (26), went for breakfast while cleaner K. Kalaivanan, was in the vehicle. The distance from the edge of the cliff to the unit’s entrance is hardly 20 feet and only one truck can pass through the non-existent roads there at any given time.
According to eye-witnesses, Kalaivanan lost control of the vehicle while making way for another truck and went straight off the cliff. “He must have used the wrong gear because instead of reversing, he went forward and the front wheel tipped over and hung down from the cliff, pulling the entire vehicle in,” said Jayaprakash, a local. The barbed wire fence that had been put to prevent workers from walking too close to the edge couldn’t prevent the 100-tonne truck from breaking through it. “The truck flipped twice in the air by the time it reached the water and the women who were washing their clothes a few metres away ran, seeing it hurtle down,” said M. Pandian, a resident of Indra Nagar and a trade union member.
Police personnel rushed to the spot upon receiving information, along with fire tenders. After hours of search by the rescue personnel in rubber boats, the location of the truck was ascertained around noon. Meanwhile, the rescue personnel sought the services of a heavy lift crane as there was no way the vehicle could be fished out of the water. “There is very few chances of the man surviving. We have to wait until the crane lifts the truck out and see if he is stuck inside the vehicle or wait until his body floats up after two days,” rescue personnel said.
The Pallavaram police have registered a case and have taken the driver of the vehicle, Ramu, for questioning.The family and relatives of Kalaivanan camped near the quarry, expecting the rescue personnel to fish out the youth, alive or dead. “I would be content if I get to see my son again in any form,” said Kanniappan, Kalaivanan’s father, in a hopeless tone. Rescue works will resume on Sunday, the police said.
( Source : dc correspondent )
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