Jineesh, who volunteered in flood rescue, killed in accident
Jose Mathew and seven members of his family had almost given up hope after being stranded for four days on the terrace of their house in Pandanad in Chengannur, during the floods that hit the State, when the ‘Coastal Warriors’ from Poonthura led by Jineesh Jeron arrived for help.
He remembers Jineesh as the first one to jump on to the terrace, unmindful of his own safety.
On Sunday, Jose Mathew and others rescued by Jineesh and his friends were at the St.Thomas Church in Poonthura, to bid one last goodbye to the young man who saved their lives.
Twenty-three-year-old Jineesh had died on Saturday morning after he got involved in a road accident at Pazhaya Uchakkada.
One of the memorable images of him from the rescue mission is of him neck deep in the floodwaters, holding aloft 86-year old Rachel John on a chair, as he carries her into a waiting boat. Rachel’s daughter Leena Mathew, based on Texas, had lost hope of finding her parents when she got in touch with Jineesh’s group.
“My parents, both above 80 years of age, were alone in the house with just the house help for company. We had earlier got a wrong information that they were already rescued. Later, we got in touch with Jineesh’s group members through Facebook. They soon headed there and got them out safely. It’s quite sad that he left us so soon,” says Ms.Leena.
Also among those rescued by his group were 28 young children of an orphanage, following a particularly dangerous rescue operation, which even the Navy couldn’t take up.
Even after they got back home after the rescue operation, Jineesh and group were in constant touch with those rescued over phone.
“When we set out on August 16 night, he was the one who brought an extra engine from his home. Our group stayed there for five days and rescued close to 800 people. The irony is, his name does not even appear in the official list of rescuers, as we did not wait to enter our names at the taluk office, before heading to the rescue operation. Though he was one of the youngest among us, he was one of the bravest,” says Johny, one of the members of the group.
Jineesh had given up on his studies after completing Plus Two, to take up fishing and support his two younger brothers, both of whom have completed their degrees.
A short stint in the Middle East did not work out, causing him a loss of ₹2 lakh.
They had to shift out of their original home, situated close to the coast, three years ago as the battering of the waves had damaged the house badly.
They have been staying in a rented house since then.
The heart-rending wails of hundreds of men and women, young and old, accompanied him as his coffin was being carried to the sand-filled cemetery adjacent to the Poonthura church on Sunday afternoon.
“He had a big network of friends here. He was popular among the kids too, as a dancer and a cricketer. They all used to gather around every evening near the church. He has always been the first to volunteer for help for someone in need, despite his circumstances,” says Johny.