Goa police traces Russian man who went ‘missing’, lifeguards save another stranded in cave

FE Online

After a three-day search through north Goa and Maharashtra border villages, the Goa Police finally tracked a Russian national, whose photograph had gone viral in the state with information of him "missing" and many conspiracy theories circulating about his whereabouts.

According to a report in The Indian Express, the man was found at the Institute of Psychiatry and Human Behavior (IPHB). The entire North Goa Police had to double their workload to carry search operations for this Russian individual, said the report. The Goa Police located the man at the IPHB while he informed the police that he was in for 21-day care, the IE report said further quoting North Goa SP, Utkrisht Prasoon.

His case came to light when his wife first approached Amit Satija, an IAS, and who now have become a nodal officer in charge of addressing Goa foreigners’ issues and transit following the pandemic. His wife had written to Amit Satija in Russian and he took help from another Russian translator supporting Russian tourists in Goa. Amit Satija had hoped for the Russian man to turn up by March 16 but he did not, added the IE report.

A series of interviews were conducted based on the findings of Satija, with the Goa police going to Morjem where he stayed as a guest. On the basis of the information available from his wife and the FRRO office, his photograph was then shared with the Russian community residing in North Goa, with several leads pieced together. North Goa SP Utkrisht Prasoon said that the North Goa Police also informed Maharashtra Police in the adjoining areas along with thorough search operation at all health centers to check if any Russian had reached out for some check-up with any symptoms.

Finally, the hunt extended through the district of Pernem to north Goa beach areas. Then the police found his friend who was his travel partner, who said on the phone that he had no knowledge about the whereabouts of the person.

Amit Satija has said that administrative offices are in contact with the Russian Embassy, and they are doing all they can to support his family. He also informed his direct conversation with the family. The office of Satija has worked with embassies and airport authorities to date and ensured secure transit to 3330 foreigners through 19 chartered flights to countries such as Canada, the United States and several European airports.

In the meantime, the administration is now investigating the case of another Russian named Valenti who was discovered in a cave. Valenti sought help to protect himself as water level began rising in the cave and he had to be evacuated by the lifeguards.

Reportedly, Drishti Lifeguard has issued a statement giving details about the rescue of the Russian man who was found hiding in the cave. The statement has said that Lifeguard Girish Talkar spotted a man in a low, narrow cave along the shoreline during a routine patrol by the lifeguard stationed at the Keri beach area. He seemed to be in considerable pain because the cave was quickly overflowing due to high tide. The man also seemed physically disabled as he could not walk.

The person has now been moved to a hospital where he will be treated for dehydration. According to the Goa government, many foreigners were left stranded in the early days of the lockout, without food and water, but the situation has now improved.