Dehradun, Jun 24 (PTI): For 36-year-old Tehri resident Vijender Singh Negi, hanging from the Kedarnath temple bell while standing over floating corpses in neck-deep water for nine straight hours, proved a life saviour. Negi’s brother-in-law Ganga Singh Bhandari, a Delhi-based travel operator, said seeing him return alive was nothing short of a miracle.
“He stood hanging from the temple bell from 7 am to 4 pm, the day after the disaster struck. He stood on corpses to balance himself. His clothes had been torn to pieces by the water’s fury but he somehow withstood the force hoping to come out alive,” Bhandari said. Bhandari’s hotel located right beside the Kedarnath Temple got washed away in the torrent in front of Negi’s eyes, even as he jumped out of the building.
“My brother-in-law (Negi) jumped off from the roof of our three-storeyed hotel into the water, before finding shelter in the temple. He saw hundreds of corpses floating inside,” Bhandari said. “He has big ulcers on his hands from holding on to the bell for about nine hours, which was excruciating. As his clothes were torn to pieces, he took clothes from the bodies around him to shield himself. The thought of it still sends shivers down his spine. After the level went down, he climbed out of the waters and lay in the jungle for two days before the army helicopters rescued him,” Bhandari said.