Prime Minister Narendra Modi gestures a cameraperson as the water was released from AJI dam, at a function at a village in Jamnagar district. (Photo: PTI)
Sanosara: Prime Minister Narendra Modi's quick thinking averted possible drowning of the television crew covering his programme on Tuesday when he gestured them to run away from the spot from where they were filming the inauguration function of the first phase of SAUNI project, just seconds before water from Aji-3 dam came gushing in.
Before delivering his speech, he went to the dam near the village in Jamnagar district to officially inaugurate the Saurashtra Narmada Avtaran Irrigation (Sauni) project.
Modi, along with Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and Deputy Chief Minister Nitin Patel, reached the top of the bridge where he was supposed to push three buttons to open three gates of the dam.
Patel said the television cameramen and their assistants had taken their positions in the bed of the dam to cover the event from below, so that they can capture release of water.
"They were standing at a place which was near gate-1. As soon as Modi pressed the buttons, all the three gates opened one by one and huge amount of water started flowing below. When we all are watching the magnificent view of water falling from dam, Modiji's alert eyes spotted these cameramen below."
"Our PM quickly realised that the television crew might get into trouble due to the rising water level. He quickly alerted them by clapping and shouting. He also asked the security personnel to inform the crew to move to a safer place, as water level in the dam bed was rising very quickly," said Patel.
The entire incident was captured by the crew on camera, in which the PM could be seen asking Rupani and his security personnel to do something. He can be seen pointing at the crew and asking them to move away by waving his hand.
"Luckily, these cameramen understood what Modiji was trying to tell them and they moved to a higher platform just seconds before the lower platform, from where they were shooting, was submerged in water. Some of the crew left their camera behind and ran to save their lives," Patel said.
Another video of the incident shows gushing water sweeping away a tripod-mounted camera which was left behind by a cameraman.
However, exact number of the cameramen, believed to be from Doordarshan, and their assistants is not known though reports say there were around 3 cameramen standing in the way of the water.
According to Patel, Modi's alertness averted a possible tragedy. "If Modiji had not spotted and alerted them, we could have witnessed a tragedy today. Such quality of our PM makes him special. Even though he was busy in such a large event, he thought of the problems of common man. This is a message to all of us that we should never forget about the last man standing in line," he added.