A nomadic Indian tribal man walked 40 kms on Friday carrying his ailing pregnant wife on his shoulders in heavy rains to a hospital.

The man and his wife are residents of Konni forest in Kerala state of India and make a living by selling various forest products.

Ayyappan's wife Sudha was seven months pregnant and her condition was worsening on Friday morning at about 6 am, when Ayyappan decided to walk with her to a hospital as no other way of transportation was available from the forest.

It was not long since the couple had started walking when Sudha's condition did not allow her to walk any further and Ayyapan decided to carry her on his shoulders. The man made a sling from a piece of cloth and carried Sudha on his back. He walked 40 kms, that took him an entire day, before he could stop a car late in the evening and take his wife to a hospital in Pathnamthitta district. However, despite his efforts, the baby could not be saved.

Sudha was shifted to a bigger and better hospital in Kottayam district on Sunday as she was having convulsions.

"The woman's life had been saved since she was carried all the way, but the baby could not be saved. Labour was induced for the delivery of the dead foetus," Dr Kunjamma Roy, Head of the Gynaecology department of the Kottayam Medical college hospital told Press Trust of India.

The dead fetus was delivered on Wednesday and the mother's condition is reportedly stable.

Roy further said that the when the woman reached the hospital, she had oedema, high blood pressure and convulsions. Convulsions during pregnancy can negatively impact both mother and child, Roy added.

Ever since media reports about the couple were published, donations from across the country have started pouring in.

According to Pathanamthitta district tribal welfare officer Mohan Kumar, the couple belongs to Malambandaram group and had moved to Konni forest only about a month ago. There are about two dozen other families apart from the couple, who move around together.

"If they are in a particular area, they install some signals - like putting some bottles on a pole - at the nearest forest road. Tribal welfare staff leaves foodgrains at such places to enable them to collect the provisions,'' he said. He also added that such nomadic tribes rarely mingle with the outside world.

Another forest officer Suresh Babu suggested that its possible the couple may have lost their way in the forest.