Truck driver rescued from raging Galana-Kulalu floods in daring chopper operation – video

By , K24 Digital
On Thu, 4 May, 2023 12:58 | 2 mins read
Rescue Operation in Galana Kulalu
PHOTO/ Sheldrick Wildlife Trust

A video of a daring rescue operation by Sheldrick Wildlife Trust is trending on social media with netizens likening it to a movie scene.

The video shows a truck driver being pulled out of a truck swept away by heavy floods in Galana Kulalu after six hours.

As shared on the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust page, the tanker was driving across the Galana-Kulalu causeway when the river suddenly flooded and surrounded it.

They say he was stuck in the tanker from 10:00 am and it was not until 4:00 pm that the manager raised an alarm.

"It was 4:30 pm on the afternoon of 3rd May 2023 when our Galana Operations Manager raised the alarm: A tanker had been driving across the Galana-Kulalu causeway when the river suddenly flooded and surrounded it," part of the statement read.

"Surrounded by floodwaters, the driver was trapped inside the vehicle. The crisis intensified when the water pushed the tanker on its side, smashing the windscreen and engulfing the cabin. The man clung to the top, but it was only a matter of time before the river engulfed the entire vehicle. Onlookers watched helplessly from the shore, horrified but unable to intervene, as the current made any sort of crossing impossible."

The driver was trapped inside the tanker full of petroleum as the water slowly rose and swayed him around.

He however held on until he was safely evacuated.

"The moment we received the call, our Aerial Unit sprung into action. Taru Carr-Hartley flew the SWT helicopter to the scene, accompanied by Roan Carr-Hartley. They could immediately spot the breached truck, dwarfed by the angry river. As they flew closer, they were relieved to see the driver, still hanging on," Sheldrick Wildlife Trust stated.

"Slowly, steadily, Taru inched the helicopter down towards the truck, hovering an astonishing six inches above. Meanwhile, Roan strapped into a harness that was attached to the aircraft. In one smooth motion, he stepped onto the tanker, grabbed the driver’s hand, and helped him onboard."

The operation, according to the trust, faced the challenge of gusting winds compounded by the swirling water, which created very challenging flying conditions.