In one of the shocking incidents, the Goa Police recovered a body of the missing Vasco Youth from Jalavticho Ozar of the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary on Thursday. The said youth went on missing four days ago.
Four youths including Shiva Harijan, Yogesh Khadekar, Gaurish Naik, and Sanjay Gaonkar had gone to Jalavticho Ozar. They told the forest guards at the gate that they wanted to visit the viewpoint area of Ladkecho Ozar. But instead, they entered the core area of the wildlife sanctuary and reached the Jalavticho waterfalls.
While they were bathing in the waterfall and clicking photos rest of the friends noticed that Harijan was not to be seen. They said that they searched for him, but could not find him. Panicked, the remaining three returned to the village and informed the forest guard on duty at the entrance gate. Immediately, the range forest officer of the sanctuary, Narayan Prabhudesai, along with staff went to Surla on Monday evening to search for the missing youth.
Forest, police, and fire officials have been conducting a joint search operation since Tuesday. On Tuesday, a massive search operation involving forest, police, and fire services personnel was carried out at Surla to trace Harijan. But as the area is densely forested and difficult to negotiate, despite the rigorous search operation, the missing youth could not be found.
“Our staff along with police and fire personnel carried out a joint search operation, but till evening Harijan was untraceable. The area is inaccessible and the terrain difficult. Despite this, the joint search operation was carried out,” said the range forest officer of the Mhadei Wildlife Sanctuary, Narayan Prabhu Desai.
By Wednesday evening, the search team managed to locate the missing youth’s body. However, as it was late, the body was retrieved from the deep valley of the waterfalls only by Thursday afternoon, that too after rigorous and repeated attempts.
Trekking and hiking through the difficult terrain, and struggling with numerous odds, the search team brought the body to Surla by late evening. The body has been sent to Goa Medical College for post mortem.
Surla, a village situated 800m above sea level has dozens of seasonal waterfalls and Jalavticho ozar that lies on the way from Surla to Satre offers a breath-taking view of the Kalasa river valley even during the summer. Taking the help of locals, picnickers as well as trekkers from Goa and neighboring states venture into the sanctuary area, despite the many dangers.
Locals from Surla and Chorla have called for stringent action against in disciplined picnickers visiting these areas.