Madikeri, Aug 12, 2020: The body of Talacauvery temple priest Narayana Achar was retrieved from the rubble caused by the landslide in Kodagu on Tuesday afternoon. Five people including the 70-year-old priest and his family members were missing since the landslide occurred in the early hours of August 6 . National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) officials continued to search for the missing persons despite continued rain cutting off access to the landslide area near Talacauvery in Kodagu.
"Today, the search operation continued and the body of Narayana Achar was retrieved from the landslide," Kodagu Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy confirmed.
This means that the bodies of two of the five people who went missing in the landslide have been found so far. The body of Anandatheertha Swami, an 87 year old administrator of the Talacauvery and Bhagamandala temples, was found on Saturday. He is the brother of Narayana Achar.
Anandatheertha was a staunch environmentalist who was involved in many attempts to save the River Cauvery and the Western Ghats from human encroachment.
The daughters of Narayana Achar who live in New Zealand and Australia arrived in Kodagu on Monday. They even visited the site of the landslide but they were quarantined later on the same day after the driver who dropped them from the airport tested positive for the coronavirus.
The rains reduced in Kodagu this week making search operations easier for the NDRF and SDRF personnel. Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy said around 300 houses in the district reported damage due to the rain.
While landslides were reported in many areas across the hilly district, the incident at Talacauvery was the only one where casualties were reported this year.
Over the past two years, Kodagu district has reported landslides during the monsoon season resulting in the death of over 36 people.