‘Security men bled to death in a trench’
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The five security personnel who died in an encounter with Maoists in Jharkhand's Latehar district on Monday could have survived had they been evacuated in time, according to CRPF officials.
The injured security personnel who survived had to wait till Tuesday morning, around 15 hours after the encounter ended, to be airlifted to the nearest hospital in Daltonganj, they said.
The injured personnel who had been cut off from the rest of the raiding party took shelter in a trench along with five others who were grievously injured. An IAF MI 17 helicopter that had been engaged to evacuate them could not land due to bad weather, forcing the injured personnel to spend the night in the trench without any medical help. The five seriously injured died in the night.
"From the survivors we have come to know that the deceased could have been saved had timely evacuation been done. There was excessive bleeding and by the time our team reached them they were dead," said a senior officer. The bodies were airlifted around 11 am on Tuesday after the IAF chopper landed in nearby Navali village. The CRPF personnel carried their colleagues bodies to the village on foot.
The officials said four CRPF men were still missing. Search could not begin as the Maoists had planted landmines in the area. Two villagers died on Tuesday when they stepped on the landmines, forcing CRPF to halt their operation till Wednesday morning.
Revising the death toll, the paramilitary force said four of its personnel — and not six as initially reported — were killed in the encounter. A constable of the Jharkhand Jaguar Special Task Force was also killed.
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