Ballari: As many as 60 tourists had to be rescued after 'Virupapura Gadde', an island in the vicinity of the world heritage site of Hampi, popularly known as 'Hippie island' was inundated.
Local villagers made use of coracles to take them to safety. "We were stuck on the island. We were not aware that a flood warning had been issued. Two coracles carried 3-4 people in one trip but without life jackets, it was quite scary. Around 40 of us were rescued by the evening," said Arun, a tourist, who was stranded on the island.
Meanwhile, there were reports that despite Tungabhadra Board officials issuing flood alerts to Ballari and Koppal authorities on August 7, these were ignored by hoteliers. The district administration too had cautioned people about the huge release of water into the river from the reservoir and had asked people to shift to safer areas.
"However, some hoteliers ignored the warning ", said an officer involved in the rescue operation blaming the hoteliers for risking the lives of tourists.
In what could be a matter of concern for heritage lovers, four key monuments at Hampi are flooded after the sluice gates of the Tungabhadra Dam were opened.
As it happens every time the Tungabhadra is in spate, Purandara Mantapa, located on the banks of the river, is half submerged. Other heritage monuments including Kodandarama Temple, Hampi Salu Mantapa, Markandeshwara Temple, Nava Brindavana Gadde and Jaina Mantapa are also submerged.
According to Tungabhadra Board officials, 10 sluice gates were opened Sunday morning, which flooded the region. "Over 2 lakh cusecs of water was released from Tungabhadra Reservoir at Hosapete, 10 km behind the ancient capital of the Vijayanagar empire. Several areas in Hampi town including a few homes and the traffic police station were also flooded. We had warned everyone since August 7 to take preventive action," an official said. The district administration has asked residents living along the river banks to move to safer places and so no casualties were reported.
Two NDRF personnel and three fire and emergency department personnel from Gangavati who were pressed into the rescue effort went missing after their boat toppled in the flood waters Monday morning. By the evening, all five were rescued by another team of the NDRF and were airlifted....