Ariyapala's daring rescue act has been recorded on a CCTV camera installed in a nearby shop. The survivors of this encounter were a group from Chilaw on a pleasure trip to Uva.
D.M. Sudukuma and Saman Wickramage, owner s of nearby restaurants who were eye witness to the encounter said the group travelling in a van had stopped over near the bridge to enjoy a bath in the ela. They said as the group was getting ready, a two-and a half-year-old infant accompanied by them fell off the bridge into the ela.
Five others including a woman who waded into the ela in turns to rescue the infant, were dragged away by the current.
It was around 3.00 p.m. on December 26.
Ariyapala who heard the cries of the group quickly ventured into the ela and rescued each one by one with the help of the neighbours who rushed to his assistance.
Thilak is a bachelor who had lost both his parents.