Local Goa News

Monday, June 27, 2016

Creek show: Joyride turns disaster for Panaji mayor

Panaji: Panaji mayor Surendra Furtado, along with six others, had a narrow escape on Sunday when the de-weeding machine that they were on turned turtle in the St. Inez creek. All the seven, who most likely violated safety norms, were pinned down under the machine for a few moments even as onlookers watched aghast. All of them lived to tell the tale with a few bruises to prove their ordeal.
The incident occurred along the St. Inez Creek near the Mercedes Benz workshop around 12:30 when Furtado was demonstrating the capability of the amphibious vehicle to journalists. Furtado, accompanied by former councilor Bento Lorena and two other journalists, stepped onto the amphibious machine. The operator of the vehicle and the project head for the de-weeding exercise were also onboard along with an unidentified male.
Things began smoothly with the amphibious vehicle, along with the seven occupants, easing into the water near the Sewage treatment plant at Tonca. The mayor then instructed the operator to proceed upstream.
Along the way, the operator kept warning the occupants not to touch the controls, once even going to the extent of switching off the engine.
After proceeding a good 75 meters upstream from the starting point, the operator decided to turn the amphibious vehicle around. At that moment, a few occupants on the vehicle asked the operator to demonstrate the de-weeding capabilities of the machine. All this while a local TV channel editor onboard the vessel kept the camera rolling.
The trouble began when the machine sank its hydraulic teeth into the weeds and attempted to yank them out of their roots. Given that the amphibious vehicle was already overloaded, the vehicle dipped slightly on its right side. Panic ensued and even as one member of the party fell into the water, the mayor tried to scamper towards the other side of the vehicle, inadvertently holding on to the joystick controls for grip.
Disaster struck immediately as the weight imbalance and motor controls forced the machine to turn turtle, with all the occupants pinned underneath. Thankfully, all the seven managed to free themselves and wade to the bank of the creek.
The amphibious vessel has been imported from Sweden by Benaulim-based entrepreneur Caesar Fernandes.

TOI Goa News

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