Bengaluru, Aug 15 (IANS) A 12-year-old braveheart, Venkatesh, was felicitated on the occasion of 73rd Independence Day for risking his life and escorting an ambulance on a submerged bridge across an overflowing river in Karnataka’s Raichur district recently, a police officer said on Thursday.
“In recognition of his daring feat, Raichur district Deputy Commissioner B. Sharat felicitated Venkatesh with a bravery award at the Independence Day celebrations in the state’s northern town,” Raichur Superintendent of Police C.B. Vedamurthy told IANS over phone.
Raichur is situated 490 km north of Bengaluru in the Deccan region of the southern state.
The incident occurred on August 10 when incessant rains since August 4 turned the river into a spate and flooded many towns and villages in the region.
As the ambulance had to cross from Hirerayanakumpi village to Gugal village on the other side of the river bank, its driver asked Venkatesh, who was present on the spot, if he knew where the submerged road bridge was to ride over and if he could guide him.
“As Venkatesh was familiar with the 500 metre road bridge, he guided the driver from the front, literally wading the swirling waters over the submerged bridge despite stumbling and slipping on its edge,” recalled Vedamurthy.
The incident came to light after a video clip of Venkatesh escorting the ambulance, ferrying six sick children and a woman’s dead body, went viral on social media after it was shot by one of his friends standing on the river bank.
The villages are in Devadurg taluk, about 30 km north of Raichur town.
“The Deputy Commissioner decided to reward the rural boy after he became a household name in the backward district and his adventurous act was splashed in the local Kannada newspapers.
“I have told Venkatesh’s teacher Veena and his father Devapppa that I would pay for his education fee till degree college as he is reading in Class VI,” added Vedamurthy.