The streets of Kerala’s fisherman hamlet, Poonthura, are peppered with banners and flex boards all mourning the loss of a hero. Jineesh Jeron, only 24 years old, was hailed as a saviour after he rescued scores of people in the Kerala floods. Jeron was among the first responders to reach Chengannur, one of the worst-affected areas in Alapuzzha district.
However, 24-year-old Jeron passed away on Saturday when a truck ran him over while he was travelling to Tamil Nadu on a bike. A native of Poonthura, Jerron was a part of ‘Coastal Warriors’, a group that was one of the first teams to respond to the floods even before government relief teams reached. Jineesh’s pictures of helping victims onto boats is now being widely shared as people recount how he had located and rescued people stuck inside their homes due to waterlogging. The News Minute reported that Jineesh always had the spirit of a seafarer and would set out into the sea at the age of 15.
One of the most iconic images of him from the Kerala floods is of him helping 86-year-old Rachel John on a chair onto a boat. Rachel’s daughter Leena Mathew told The Hindu how she was able to get in touch with Jineesh’s group. My parents, both above 80 years of age, were alone in the house with just the house help for company. We had earlier got a wrong information that they were already rescued. Later, we got in touch with Jineesh’s group members through Facebook. They soon headed there and got them out safely. It’s quite sad that he left us so soon,” Leena said.