Five people are missing and thirty five are stranded at the Chinchoti waterfall in Maharashtra’s Vasai as heavy rains lashed Mumbai and its suburbs on Saturday.

A 19-member National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) team is on its way to rescue the people who were on a picnic at the waterfall in the Tungareshwar Bird sanctuary. The Coast Guard, Dahanu, is coordinating with the NDRF to rescue them.

Many of the people are clinging on to tree branches, said a Vasai civic fire brigade official, adding that rains have made it difficult for rescuers to reach the waterfall. “Our team is walking 3-5km inside the jungle to reach the waterfall.”

The NDRF team, led by Inspector Purshottam Rana, includes five divers who are carrying deep diving sets, oxygen cylinders, floating buoys, jackets and other equipments for the rescue mission, said PSI Anant Babhulkar of the force.

Strong currents and high water levels during monsoon can be deadly for visiters who throng the waterfall during weekends, fire brigade official Jayesh Chiplunkar said.

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