Wilfred C Manuel, a native of North Moolamkuzhi in Kochi believes that God has blessed him immensely so that his strong hands could pull out lives from the depths of water. Even though Manuel has saved hundreds of lives that could have lost underwater, he doesn’t like to keep numbers. As the leader of Interdive Diving Services, Kerala’s first private diving team that is based in North Moolamkuzhi, all that matters for Wilfred is to be efficient and save as many lives as possible. A team of highly trained divers is the strength of his company.
The group owns most modern safety features and equipments, small boats and machines too. There have been countless instances where Wilfred and his team had turned saviors when the fire force and even the navy failed.
Last month, Tamil Nadu government had sought Wilfred’s help to find the body of the MBBS student who had drowned while swimming in a canal close to the Sholayar dam. Even though the company functions mainly in United Arab Emirates, Wilfred and his team bases his charitable activities and life saving rescue missions in Kerala and the neighboring states too. They are always ready to take up risky assignments, hoping to save lives.
They won’t charge any money when they are called to recover dead bodies from deep waters. Wilfred Manuel and his team of efficient divers were active participants in the high risk rescue missions when Kerala was battered by the deadly floods in 2018.
Wilfred began his career as a diver, on 26 May 1988, with the Delhi based company ‘Orient Underwater Engineers’ owned by Captain Harish Dingra. The Captain and his team had come to Kerala to refloat the dredger ship ‘Mattancherry’ that got stuck at the channel near the Mattancherry wharf. After completing his training as a professional diver, Wilfred worked in the Gulf for some years.
Later, he started his own company which, now, partners with many prestigious projects in Dubai. Interestingly, Wilfred’s company has been cleaning the famous Dubai fountain that is close to the Burj Khalifa, for years.
Wilfred is a trained diver who can go as deep as 150 feet under water. He deserves the credit for encouraging most number of swimming enthusiasts to take up diving in Kerala. Now, he trains special teams including the divers of Kerala police. He also owns an adventure sports academy in Kochi where professional training is offered in krav maga, the Israeli martial art form, kayaking, commercial diving and rescue operations.
Wilfred’s wife Ibi is the principal of Chitoor Vaduthala Holy Family Anglo Indian School. Gary and Rose who are medical students, engineering student Ann and Angel who is a class ten student are his children. Wilfred proudly says that his children too are expert divers. Besides, his brothers Godwin and Dickson too are professional divers.
Points to note
Wilfred says that one should get into water only after speaking to the people in the area to understand the nature of the water bodies in the locality and also about the hidden dangers, even if they are good swimmers. He cautions not to mix adventure and alcohol or intoxication. Raising the red flag, Wilfred says that it is a deadly combination that could even cost you life.