Two pump attendants drowned in a well at the Gulem after they tried to remove the dead turtle
* A large crowd gathered at the petrol pump and damaged some property.
* The deceased identified as Nomi B Gaonkar (43) of Gulem-Canacona and Barkelo N Gaonkar (40) of Gokuldem-Quepem.
CANACONA: In a tragic and more bizarre mishap two pump attendants, aged 43 and 40 years men collapsed and died in a Well (located at hand-distance from the Fuel storage underground tanks and fuel Dispensers) when descended to take out a dead turtle at the Gulem Petrol Station in Canacona late Friday evening.
Angry Kin and kith of the deceased and a large number of people gathered damaged the pump station, calling for and demanding immediate arrest and presence of the Manager and Owner of the Petrol Station for explanation and settlement of the compensation to the next of Kin of the deceased. The ruckus which began at about 6.30 in the evening continued till midnight as the crowd not only refused to go away but also refused the police to take away the dead bodies of Naomi B Gaonkar (43), r/o Gulem Canacona and Barkelo N Gaonkar (40) r/o Gokuldem-Quepem.
According to sources, by Friday evening, the Pump Station Manager realised that a turtle was lying dead in the Well, equipped with a motor pump (located right inside the compound and very close to the underground Storage tanks and the Filling Stations) from which water is pumped out for petrol pump use.
Just after the duty–off time (6. p.m.) of two of the pump attendants the Manager reportedly asked the duo to help remove the dead turtle from the Well. After initially trying and failing at least 3-4 times to pull out the turtle carcass by lowering a bucket, one of the victims Naomi Gaonkar descended Into the well but didn’t come up for some time. The other attendant (Barkelo Gaonkar), who after jointly trying with the bucket had moved a little away from the Well, realising the colleague didn’t come out after a few minutes had passed by, reportedly informed the Manager and descended into the Well to see what has happened to college and why he is not responding nor coming out. It is learnt that the Manager and Owner of the Petrol pump who was sitting in the office, didn’t realise the gravity of the situation, till other pump attendants came running, complaining there was no sign of both who had descended into the Well. The Well, which is acutely narrow in width and at least more than 15 metres deep, had only knee-deep water, impossible for anyone to drown.
The Fire Brigade was dialled and soon\ a fire tender and Police personnel arrived at the scene in large numbers.
According to angry residents who assembled in large numbers on hearing the death of the two men, fuel was dispensed to arriving vehicles even after the fire Fire Brigade was making attempts to retrieve the two men from the Well.
While, two of the Fire Personnel, who descended into the Well with proper gear were pulled up swiftly from the Well after they both complained of a lack of oxygen to breathe. One of the personnel was literarily seen gasping to breadth for a long time after being pulled out. Later, the Fire personnel lowered a hook and pulled out the dead bodies of both of the victims, as by the time the crowd gathered crowed swell in large numbers, virtually went berserk and reportedly beat the manager badly with slaps and fists, while the Owner still remained mindlessly seated inside the cabin, which angry locals also targeted braking the window panes and glasses.
With the fire brigade personnel and police saw the unruly crowd targeting the manager, swiftly shifted the Manager and Owner in the police jeep to the Police Station amidst the chaos.
Later, on realising the Manager and Owner had gone missing, the crowed vehemently began to shout to bring both and particularly the owner in front of them, even as Canacona PI Chandrakant Gawas came personally and simultaneously moved a strong police force/personnel bringing to the line of duty from their other placements. While the strong crowd were in no mood to hear anyone, CMC Chairperson Simon Rebello, Nandip Bhagat, and several others trying to pacify the crowd went futile, even as the crowd engaged Canaocna PI, PSI’s in their fury of shouts and threats. Soon Cuncolim PI Diogo Gracias came on the scene drawing a contingent of police personnel from Cuncolim Police Station.
The crowd refused to hear and demanded they want only the Owner and the Manager at the scene at any cost.
The situation turned tense every moment as there was no let up to the demands and refusal to move away and not allowing police personnel to take away the bodies for post-mortem.
Even as the Dy. Collector Ramesh Gaonkar reached the site, and so did the Mamlatdar, till filing this report, the crowd refused to move out, and allowed the bodies to be taken away, demanding the immediate presence of the Owner and manager.
Finally, a truce was brought up and agreed upon on the arrival of Dy. SP Sandesh Chodankar, who alongwith Canaocna PI Chandrakant Gawas and SDM/Dy. Collector Ramesh Gaonkar and Mamlatkar Manoj Korgaonkar convinced and took the agreeing family members and forefront agitators to the Canacona police station, finally bringing out a solution to the tangle by midnight time, as the Pump owner not only agreed to compensate the next of kins of the deceased but also agreed to pay monthly salaries to both till the deceased would have attained the age of superannuation (60 Years).
The pump owner is reported to have agreed to pay a compensation of about Rs 15 lakh each to the next of kin of the two deceased pump attendants. The pump owner is also believed to have assured that the regular salaries of the two deceased pump attendants would be paid every month, till they have attained 60 years. These assurances were made following discussions with the pump owner, government officials at the police at the Canacona police station late Friday night.
Those present at the discussions included Dy SP Sandesh Chodankar, Dy Collector Ramesh Gaonkar, Mamlatdar Manoj Korgaonkar, PI Chandrakant Gawas and family members of both deceased pump attendants.
According to sources, the Gulem Petrol Pump which was recently renovated with a shade, had reportedly had a similar incident two decades ago, but the to-be victim was on time pulled out from the well who has descended to clean the well.