Police Officer Hailed Hero In Daring Rescue

As floodwaters surged through Rakiraki on Monday and people fled, a Policeman swam to the bus station and climbed on the roof to scan the town. Sergeant 2706 Rakesh Chandra
22 Dec 2016 13:48
Police Officer Hailed Hero In Daring Rescue
Sergeant Rakesh Chandra with the Rakiraki Bus station building he climbed in the background. Photo: Charles Chambers

As floodwaters surged through Rakiraki on Monday and people fled, a Policeman swam to the bus station and climbed on the roof to scan the town.

Sergeant 2706 Rakesh Chandra was checking to make sure no was stranded and in distress.

He chased some boys in the business area and then he saw a businessman and his son frightened and hesitant to flee the raging floodwaters and rescued them.

He is now being hailed a hero of the Rakiraki floods. Yesterday he received a special phone call from Police Commissioner Brigadier-General Sitiveni Qiliho to commend him for his courageous deed.

Brigadier-General Qiliho said: “Normally things like this go unreported or are not spoken of by the Police.”

He said he was proud of the work carried out by his officers at Rakiraki.

Not many people in Rakiraki town  knew of Sergeant Chandra and his fellow Police officers’ tireless efforts to ensure the safety of people and businesses during the floods on Monday.

He said many did not know how Sergeant Chandra carried a businessman and his (businessman’s) son through raging waters to safety.

Sergeant Chandra said: “As the streets started to fill with water, I noticed some boys still in the business area and chased them across the bridge.

“By that time the waters had risen and I started to swim towards the bus station and climbed to the highest point.

“I did this so I could have a good lookout to all the shops and see that no one was trying to enter or if there were some people still in town.”

After a while, he made his way to the flooded street in front of the Police station and noticed a businessman and his son against a wall, too frightened to cross the strong gush of water coming through a flooded side street.

“I went across to them, and held the father in one hand and the son in the other and made my way across until I reached their flat about 40 metres away.”

The businessman’s son, Yash Parmar, 19, praised the efforts of Sergent Chandra for rescuing his dad Kaltesh Parmar and him and taking them to safety through the flood.

“He brought us life jackets and held us strongly while making his way across the flooded road.

“We are just so thankful to him and the Police of Rakiraki for their work.

“My dad and I were in our shop, Shruti Fashions, trying to secure our stock and did not notice how fast the flood waters were rising.

“We only realised this when it started coming into our shop and by that time the waters were coming down strong through the streets.”

Sergeant Chandra was later joined by Corporal 2586 Eremasi Vuli, PC 3467 Waqa Vakaloloma and PC 5198 Semi Tuimuru.

“The boys we had chased away were now standing at the Land Transport Authority veranda across Vaileka River with flood waters starting to rise up around them.”

The four Police officers managed to get a long rope and threw it across the flooded bridge to the seven youths.

The youths were then told to tie the rope securely to something and same was done on the policemen’s side

“One by one we managed to assist the youths across the bridge and got them to the high ground behind the Post Office.”

Sergeant Chandra said what he and his fellow officers did was their duty in ensuring safety to the public.

“However in this case, after telling people to stay away from town, you get some like these youths who still come and in the end we have to rescue them again.”

Sergeant Chandra, who has been appointed Traffic Officer at Labasa Police Station, is due to move soon.

Edited by Maraia Vula



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