The temptation of new shoes promised by her father was too much to resist for an unsuspecting six-year-old, who accompanied him, only to be thrown into the Ulhas river by him and his friend. Fortunately, she managed to hang onto water hyacinth plants and stayed afloat for over 11 hours, until she was rescued. The incident took place on Wednesday night near the Walivli bridge at Badlapur and she was rescued on Thursday.
Locals show the spot from where the girl was rescued after she was thrown from the Walivli bridge. Pic/Navneet Barhate
An alert security guard, Ramesh Bhoir, (35), a resident of Badlapur who works for Mohan Group, a construction company, spotted her. He said, “Our site is just adjoining the river. Around 6 am yesterday, I was on a round, when I heard the screams of a girl, but couldn’t see anything in the river. So I went to the Walivli bridge and saw that just below it, a girl had managed to stay afloat by hanging onto water hyacinth plants. I immediately called the police station and fire brigade.”
Bhoir claims the fire brigade reached the spot within 15 minutes but the police came at 7:45 am, after the rescue.
The girl, identified as Ekta Tulsiram Siani, a resident of Vartak Nagar in Thane, was rescued by 6:45 am. “When we questioned her as to how she fell in the river, she claimed that her father, along with his friend, threw her in,” added Bhoir. Police said the girl said she was thrown at 8 pm. In her statement to police she said that she was taken by her father who lured her with a new pair of shoes and threw her in the river.
Bhagwat Sonone, chief officer, Kulgaon-Badlapur Fire Brigade, said, “We received a call at 6:10 am. The river is around 25 feet deep in the area, and the bridge is almost 40 feet above it. Tying a rope to an air tube, we let it down and rescued the girl within 20 minutes. We asked the girl to sit in the tube.”
KG Gavit, Senior Police Inspector, Vartak Nagar police station said, “The mother of the girl approached us late on Wednesday night and registered a missing complaint. As the girl was a minor, we had registered a kidnapping case and started the investigation. On Thursday morning we learnt about a girl found in a Badlapur river. We have sent the girl for a medical test and teams have been formed to trace her father.”