Madikery, Aug 12: Exactly six days after a massive landslide destroyed his house in Kodagu’s Talacauvery, the body of local chief priest Narayana Achar (80) was traced on Tuesday.
Five people including the priest, his family members and assistants were feared to buried alive after the August 6 landslide. Priest’s brother Ananda Tirtha Swami’s body was found on August 8.
The priest’s body was spotted in a trench at Nagatheertha, 2.5 km away from the site of the landslide and was in a decomposed state.
Bodies of Achar’s wife Shantha and assistant priests Ravikiran Bhat and Srinivas are yet to be traced.
Personnel of the NDRF, SDRF, local police and the fire and emergency services continued searches for the bodies of the others amid rain and foggy weather.
Achar used to sleep on the attic of the house daily. The intensity of the landslide was such that he was dragged 2.5 km from his house.
When the search was carried out at Nagateertha, toes of the chief priest’s body were spotted and soon, the body was unearthed. After an autopsy at Bhagamandala hospital, the body was handed over to the family members.
The last rites were performed on the family-owned land on Tuesday evening. Achar’s daughters Sharada, Namitha, grandchildren and other family members were inconsolable.
Mangled remains of two cars and a scooter have also been found, along with the carcass of the family’s pet dog.
Achar’s car driver Jayanth recalled that the former was an agriculturist and had three pieces of land, where he grew cardamom and pepper. Spices worth lakhs of rupees were stocked in the house.
Jayanth said he had advised Achar to shift to a safer place as the rains had intensified. But the priest did not agree. He might have been concerned about the safety of the agricultural produce and other valuables, he said.
The driver recalled that the tiles of the house were blown away by winds the previous day of the incident and that he had put them back in their place.
District in-charge minister V Somanna said there is no question of discontinuing the search operations. The search will go on till the bodies of all those who went missing are traced.