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Hams operate from Ganges River accident scene in Kolkata

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G4TUT, Apr 28, 2017.

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  1. G4TUT

    G4TUT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hams operate from Ganges River accident scene in Kolkata

    The holy river Ganga flows through the state of West Bengal covering a few districts like North 24 Parganas, Hooghly, Howrah and few more.
    On Wednesday, 26th April , 2017 something really unfortunate had happened in this route ferrying passengers from one side of the river to the other, where the one side is Shyamnagar (North 24 Parganas) and the other side is Bhadreswar (Hooghly) , which is commonly known as the Telinipara ghat. This is a very busy ghat ferrying thousands of people per day in motorised country boats, as this is the only mode of transport for people travelling across the river.

    At around 11.00 in the morning yesterday, during the busy hours of office goers and school children and businessman the mishap had happened.
    A jetty crowded with more than 150 commuters collapsed in the river in the Telinipara ghat in Bhadreswar leaving all into the water, where some could swim and some couldn’t. Among them were school children, old men and women and servicemen. The scene was devastating and impossible to be seen with eyes. Cries and shouts were there all over the place. As there was high tide, as soon as the jetty collapsed into the water of the river ganga, people who fell into it and were driven by the enormous currents of the river within a few minutes.

    Local people dived in to the river to save a few lives and also the local fisherman took their boats and rescued 25 of them. As of now, 4 have died and 17 have been admitted to hospital and the rest are missing. As soon as we heard of this accident, we the members of the West Bengal Radio Club jumped into action with our hand held radios and Echolink. Some hams from our club living nearby the accident spot rushed to the spot within minutes of disaster namely Souvik Ch. Dutta (VU3YSC), Sufal Mazumdar (VU3ZSM), Gourav Sadhukhan (VU3YGS), Somnath Adhikary (VU3 ZSA ), Sourav Sadhukhan (VU3ZHU ), Abhrajit Das (VU3YDA) and Sourav Goswami (SWL). They were all having local QSOs among them with those 2 M hand held radios and making distant QSO to our club station(25 kilometers on Air distance) with an emergency station setup where they used external antennas to communicate with our club station (VU2MQT).


    Handling our club station was Rinku Nag Biswas (VU2JFB) where she commanded excellently to yield results. Also, other members who were far from the accident zone maintained liaison with members from ground zero via Echolink. In Echolink we were using a Southern California, USA Repeater (KM6EON-R) with prior notice from Mr. Greg (KI6GIG), the custodian of the repeater. We are thankful to him and members of his club that they were with us during the disaster and helped us by giving us the permission to access the repeater.

    Using Echolink were Abhrajit Das (VU3YDA) from ground zero, Ambarish Nag Biswas (VU2JFA) from his office in Barasat which is approximately 20 kms from accident zone, Jayanta Baidya (VU3YJB) from Bolpur which is 170 km from accident zone, myself Chandramouli Datta (VU3ZHJ) from my college in South Calcutta which is 60 kms form accident zone , Suman Saurabh (VU3ZHD) from his house in Dumka which is more than 300 km from accident zone and Soubrata De (VU3YGE) from this office in South Kolkata which is 70 kms from accident zone.

    Members of West Bengal Radio Club did a wonderful job by providing the communication and helping those men in danger. We are proud as like this we are always prepared for any kind of disaster if any in the future to help the people as much as we can. Also not to forget the importance of the mock drills that we attended with the National Disaster Response Force , State Government officials, Civil Defence, Army and other forces as to how to work hand in hand during any disaster.

    The present report is that the NDRF, under the guidance of Dy. Commandant Mr. Abhay Kr. Singh(IPS) , is using its deep sea divers to locate dead bodies and the search is on from last night and the police have arrested four people relating to this incident . Condolences to the friends and families of those men from the West Bengal Radio Club.

    Chandramouli Datta VU3ZHJ

    WB5THT likes this.
  2. KG7VTO

    KG7VTO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Can you tell us exactly how the amateurs provided aid and comfort to the sick and injured?
    K5KNV and VK2DMH like this.
  3. KF7CLH

    KF7CLH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Where's the beef?
    AB3EH and WB5THT like this.
  4. KI6GIG

    KI6GIG Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don’t know the specific answer to your question, but here are some other details not mentioned in the Southgate news item. As you might imagine, in the chaos of trying to rescue the victims in the swift flowing water, struggling to pass EmComm traffic for all responding government agencies to coordinate rescue service when their radios were not working, I haven’t yet received any details of any specific “aid and comfort” to the survivors.

    On 26 Apr 2017 at 11 am Indian Stanadard Time, member so the West Bengal Radio Club (WBRC) made use of the KM6EON-R EchoLink repeater (node 717586) in Alhambra, CA to convey EmComm traffic from a local disaster scene. WBRC members living nearby rushed to the accident scene with their 2m HTs. They set up and attempted to use an HF rig on 6m and 10 m and could not get through. They relayed info by 2m HTs to their club station 15 km away. But after 30 minutes, even the 2m RF link failed. Some WBRC members on the scene remembered being on our KM6EON-R where we granted them access. They used their cell phones and your EchoLink program to connect to our node. Other WBRC members at the club station did the same. For the rest of the afternoon, the WBRC EmComm team used EchoLink for the emergency. ALL other government units responding to the disaster had NO radio communications. Only the WBRC ham members were able to assist with EmComm traffic because of EchoLink!

    This story was the lead feature story on Amateur Radio Newsline on HamNation Episode #299 (the story begins about 17 minutes 55 seconds into the video)

    The story was mentioned in
    And in our club newsletter

    If you would like further confirmation of this information, please feel free to contact the WBRC custodian VU2JFA, "Raju" Ambarish Nag Biswas ( or VU3ZHJ, "Chandra" Chandramouli Datta ( author of the news item submitted to

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