A tusker trying to cross the Mahanadi river was swept by the strong current of floodwater and got stuck near the Mundali barrage near Cuttack city on Friday, Forest officials said.
The Forest department, ODRAF and Fire Services have started an operation to rescue the jumbo, they said.
The elephant was part of a herd of about 11 jumbos crossing the river Mahanadi early on Friday morning. While others could cross the river, the tusker was the alone to be caught in the strong current. The herd was moving from Nuasasan in Athagah block on one side of the river Mahanadi to Chandaka forest on the other side.
The local people spotted the animal after hearing its trumpeting sound and immediately informed the fire brigade personnel.
"All except the tusker were able to cross the river. The water level is very high near the spot. We are trying our best to rescue the pachyderm," said Athagarh Ranger, Ayesha Nisha.
Meanwhile, a rubber boat carrying six personnel of the Odisha Disaster Rapid Action Force (ODRAF) which tried to rescue the elephant, capsized in the middle of the river.
The fire brigade personnel along with the forest officials are now engaged in rescuing the ODRAF team members instead of the elephant. Some of the ODRAF team members were being pulled out of the river, officials said.
Earlier senior forest officials from Chandaka reached the place and launched 'Operation Gaja' for rescuing the tusker. Apart from strong ropes, the forest officials have kept a crane ready to pull the mammal out of the water to safety.
The official said that the tusker on his own effort crossed about 300 metre against the strong current of the floodwater. But, the animal again returned to mid-river after finding a large crowd at the river bank.
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