A 74-year-old man, who had accidentally fallen into a 50-foot deep abandoned well in Tiruttani – a town near the south Indian city of Chennai – was rescued early on Saturday (30 September), after spending three days standing in shallow water.
Rangarajulu, who sells knives for a living, stood in water that was about one-and-a-half feet deep for around 72 hours but somehow managed to survive. Fire and rescue services personnel eventually managed to pull him out, the police said.
When Rangarajulu was brought out of the well, the skin of his feet had turned extremely pale as a result of prolonged exposure to the water, an officer said.
A team, led by the Tiruttani station fire officer N Baskaran, struggled with the rescue for nearly an hour, and had to clear thorns and thick vegetation around the abandoned well. Two men were sent in, before they could bring Rangarajulu out.
"Driver M Sivakumar and mechanic-cum-driver Hari Krishnan were lowered into the well at the end of a rope and brought him out," Baskaran said.
Rangarajulu, who was famished by the time he was rescued, was rushed to a government hospital nearby and admitted into the intensive care unit, where he is currently under observation.
Baskaran said that Rangarajulu had continuously cried for help. "I lost my voice because of lack of sleep and food. I consumed some water from the well, which was full of moss and dead leaves," he told the officer, according to The Times of India newspaper.
Rangarajulu, while selling knives from door-to-door on Tuesday (26 September), had wandered into the property owned by MC Krishna Babu and fallen into the well.
When he did not return home, his family members started searching for him and then lodged a police complaint.
It was only on Saturday that Babu heard a cry from the area of the farm in which Rangarajulu was trapped, and went to investigate with some of his family members.
Babu told rescue services personnel that the cry was very feeble and sounded more like a cat, and were shocked to see an elderly man inside the well crying out for help.
Babu immediately rushed to the fire station to inform the officials.