Thakkudu revisits the Cheruthoni Bridge, the site of his famed 2018 rescue pic

Photo 1: Kanayya Kumar, an NDRF member rushes to the other side of the river with Sooraj seconds before the Cheruthoni bridge was completely immersed in water in 2018. Photo2: Sooraj (Thakkudu) visits Cheruthoni bridge before the shutters of the IDukki dam was raised on OCtober 2021.

Idukki: An enduring photograph of the disastrous floods that struck Kerala in 2018 was the rescue of Thakkudu, a little boy, by a member of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) over the Cheruthoni Bridge. Three years later he visited the spot along with his father a few hours after waters were released from the Idukki Dam the other day.

The story of the then six-year-old Sooraj, alias Thakkudu, son of Vijayaraj and C S Manju of Karakkadu House at Gandhi Nagar in Cheruthoni, had hit the headlines when he along with his father tried to cross the Cheruthoni Bridge on August 10, 2018, the day when the roaring waters released from the Idukki Dam submerged the bridge, weakening it badly.

Then Vijayaraj was taking his son to the hospital. Though the entry to the bridge was banned, they frantically tried to cross the bridge as Thakkudu's health condition was weak. They could have been easily swept off by the water had it not been for the intervention of Kanayya Kumar, an NDRF member, manning the area.

Kumar rushed to the bridge, snatched away the boy from the father and ran away to the other side of the bridge within seconds. He was helped by another NDRF team member Kripal Singh. This was snapped by a photographer of Malayala Manorama and the photograph made it to media world over.

Seconds after they had crossed, the marauding river engulfed the bridge.

Sooraj (Thakkudu) on Cheruthoni bridge in 2019.

The swift crossing of the bridge in the nick of time paved the way for Thakkudu's sudden hospitalisation and early recovery from the disease.

Today after three years, Thakkudu became a local hero again when the water from the dam reached the Cheruthoni Bridge as soon as the sluice gates of the reservoir were opened. But this time, the water level is not alarming compared to what it was in 2018. 

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