Search for 'drowned' elderly man dredges up five bikes from well

Efforts to save an 84-year-old-man who allegedly jumped inside a well yielded a surprise catch for rescue workers, who instead fished out five two-wheelers from the water. 

Balasaheb Pratap Bhoite, a resident of Shahunagar in Chinchwad, has been missing since Saturday morning, his son Kiran said. When he could not find his father after a long search, he informed the Kudalwadi police. Around the same time, a schoolgirl informed Kiran that she had seen an old man jump into an abandoned well in Chikhali.

Kiran immediately rang up the fire brigade, and followed the girl to the well. After receiving Kiran’s desperate call, fire brigade officials from the Pimpri-Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC), accompanied by personnel from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), arrived at the spot and embarked on a prolonged and exhausting operation to search for Bhoite. More than 30 hours elapsed but there was no sign of the octogenarian.

Rusty haul
Instead, the rescue operators came up with a surprise find. They pulled out five bikes from the water. The two-wheelers were thought to have been stolen and later dumped in the well.  PCMC fire officer Kiran Gawde said, “After Bhoite’s son contacted the fire brigade, we rushed to the spot. The workers pumped out the well water, and even after its level fell by about seven feet, nothing of the sort was found.

A special vehicle available with the Pune fire brigade was also brought to aid our efforts.” Gawde continued, “From our experience, we can say that if any person had jumped into the water, his body would have swelled and floated up in 24-48 hours. But based on the information provided by Bhoite’s son, we thoroughly checked the well, taking no chances. What we found, instead, were bikes which may have been disposed of by some persons who possibly stole them.”  

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