Meet the diver who saved many lives in the Kerala floods

When Kerala was badly affected by rain and flood that the state has never experienced in history, we have seen lots of heroes arisen from nowhere to help the flood ridden people. Mesh Manoharan, from Chendamangalam near Kodungallur, which was one of the most affected places, was just one among the many victims of the flood. But, the trained scuba diver he is, Mesh gave it a thought to check on the water level and the situation around, took his kayak out in the river flowing behind his home and rescued 70 people from the flood affected area. Mesh is an industrial diver and licensed scuba instructor, who owns and operates Cherai Water Sports at Cherai in Kochi.

“I put my limits to test, except in one situation I was far above than the need. Only a mad man will do what I have done in the last week,” Mesh narrates the story still gripped in the feelings.

Mesh, a one man army, has saved around 70 lives by wading through the troubled water on his kayak and fed a large number of people, gave relief and soothing to a very large number of homes.

“Water level increased unexpectedly and everyone was panic, not knowing what to do. First I kayaked around the area to see what was actually happening. I could find many people stranded in their dwellings, with water flowing everywhere,” said Mesh.

During one of his rescue operations, he heard lamentations of people for help from remote areas, where big boats could not reach.  With his kayak, he strode through the narrow country roads, which has became canals. At the terminus of the cries, he found around 22 people of the Paliyam royal family (Paliyam Palace is the traditional home of the Paliathu Achans, Prime Ministers to the Kings of Kochi) stranded in the palace, without any food or water. He assured them that help would come shortly and provided them with tender coconuts, which he plucked from around the flooded lands and stood with them until the rescue team arrived.

“The first two days I mostly roam around the area to see the extent of damage the flood has caused and to see if someone isolated somewhere, where the navy rescue team could not reach,” said Manoharan. With the help of the rescue force, Manoharan could pull a lot of people to life from the devastating flood that has claimed more than 400 lives so far.

“A lot of memories and feelings acquired from the rescue operation. A four month old baby sitting on my lap, while its mother sitting in panic at the cockpit is still etched in my mind,” said Manoharan.

A number of paths were blocked due to fallen trees and it became difficult for the navy to reach people in those areas. But Mesh managed to reach those areas on his kayak and took them to the navy rescue team, so they could be transported to a safe spot.

“He is a great human being, without him we would not be alive now,” said a flood victim, once arrived at shore.

Since more than one person cannot be taken at a time in his small kayak, he managed to bring one or two each time and put them on safer places, or to the navy rescue team to take them. By this way he could rescue a number of people, stranded in remote places.

Apart from kayaking and scuba diving, Mesh Manoharan is a Karate black belt holder, a bike rider, traveller and instructor of a number of adventure water sport items.  Currently he is in charge of the Cherai Water Sports club.