Ghaziabad: A 10-year-old girl falled into a small gap between a cemented pipe and a culvert wall above a drain on a footpath in Indirapuram while returning home with her father after watching the Dussehra celebrations on Friday night, police said. Nearly 14 hours later, a team of divers and officials from the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) recovered her body from inside the drain on Saturday afternoon.

Police maintained that the incident took place around 10.30pm on Friday outside the Pinnacle Tower high-rise, soon after the Dussehra celebrations ended at the Ramlila ground in Ahinsa Khand II.

On investigating, the girl’s name was Priyanka, daughter of a domestic help who works in at the high-rises in Indirapuram and resides in Kanawani, police said the family hails from Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh and had moved to Ghaziabad in search for a better livelihood just four months ago. The deceased girl was the eldest among four siblings.

The girl’s father, Santosh Kumar, said, “My daughter and I were walking back home after the Dussehra celebrations got over. To avoid the huge rush on the CISF Road, we got on to the footpath. On the footpath, near a culvert, is a cemented pipeline. While walking on the pipe, both my daughter and I slipped into a small opening of the drain — which is nearly six foot long and one foot wide — beneath. I somehow managed to pull myself up but my daughter slipped away.”

“There was huge rush of people around and I started shouting for help. Some policemen came and tried to search her but they could not locate her in the opening. Soon after, more policemen arrived,” he said.

After reaching the spot, senior police officers requisitioned the eighth battalion NDRF team from Govindpuram to the spot. The local police and the team of experts from the NDRF used deep divers and cutting instruments to cut off the cemented portions of the drain but could not locate the girl, who they feared, was dead by then.

Shri Niwas, assistant commandant, NDRF, said, “The drain is nearly seven foot deep and is covered with gardens and cemented pavements. It was really difficult to locate and find the girl’s body. However, our search operation started from 1am last night and we found her body around 12.15pm on Saturday. Her body barely 15 metres away from where she had fallen and we found it after we started cutting through the top portion of the cemented drain. Survival rate in such cases are really low due to the presence of toxic gases inside drains.”

The police said the drain had thick layers of garbage comprising liquor bottles, helmets, polythene and other household items. “This hampered the rescue operation. We tried our best to retrieve her and even roped in the NDRF since retrieval from covered drain is a specialised job. The NDRF worked throughout the night and the body of the girl was found only around 12.15pm on Saturday. We have sent the body for post mortem. If her family files a complaint, we will lodge an FIR,” said Ravi Kumar, ASP (Indirapuram).

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