Kerala's Shaji Varghese has become an overnight hero after he averted a major tragedy due to his timely intervention. The incident occurred in Kerala's Kozhikode district on Sunday, when a lorry carrying straw caught fire after coming in contact with an overhead power line. On reaching Kodancherry from Wayanad, the driver noticed that the fire had engulfed straw. He panicked, stopped the vehicle and fled from the spot.
Varghese, an onlooker, made his heroic entry and jumped into the vehicle.
Fondly called 'Shaji Pappan', Varghese hopped into the truck and took it nearby. His quick thinking in driving the vehicle in a zigzag manner was successful. The straw bundles fell on the ground, and people separated those which did not catch fire, The Indian Express reported. He also saved the area from a possible explosion.
Later, the fire department team in Mukkam reached the spot immediately and doused the flames. The video of his timely intervention is doing the rounds on social media, with netizens showering bundles of praises on him.
Rahul Gandhi Reacts
In his appreciation letter, congratulating Shaji Varghese for his bold actions, Congress leader and Wayanad MP Rahul Gandhi said, "Your presence of mind that averted a major tragedy and you deserve praise. I salute your courage and foresight. Such selfless acts are uniting us as a community. With this timely intervention, you inspired many to act at times of crisis."
Gandhi also wished him success in his future charity activities.
Varghese has experience of over 25 years as a heavy vehicle driver in various places. He got the nickname 'Shaji Pappan' from his friends nearly seven years ago after he participated in local rescue and relief activities, according to The New Indian Express.
Two years ago, Varghese and his friends picked up a Nano car, overturned in Kolli and stuck on the edge of about a 50 feet cliff.