U’khand disaster: 3 more bodies found, total reaches 61

Using dog squads, binoculars, rafts and other equipment, rescuers found three more bodies on Thursday as they continued their search operation for missing persons in the disaster-hit areas of Uttarakhand’s

A total of 61 bodies have been recovered so far with two recovered from inside a tunnel of the Tapovan project and other in the Reni area, officials said.

Due to the presence of water and sludge inside the tunnel, the excavation work is being hampered. However, DGP Ashok Kumar said the rescue operation would continue till the last man or body is found inside the tunnel.

“The operation is going on a slow pace due to presence of heavy sludge and also as a precautionary measure to bring out the bodies with maximum care,” a top government official said. An NTPC official said the tunnel has already been dug to a level of 160 metres.

During the excavation work inside the tunnel, 13 bodies have been found so far. “We are expecting more bodies as we are not hoping for survivors now,” the official admitted. There is still no contact with the remaining trapped people, if any, inside.

The rescuers are working on two major places – one inside the tunnel and other at the remains of the Rishiganga project in Reni. Sniffer dogs are also being used in the rescue operation at the latter site. Besides, the searches are also being carried out in rivers.

A total of 12 teams of SDRF are searching for the bodies using binoculars, sniffer dogs, and rafts from Reni village to downstream Srinagar town. Rafts are being used in Rishiganga, Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers, which are all tributaries of the Ganga.

After days of digging and excavation works, jawans of army, the ITBP, the NDRF and the SDRF, who are engaged in the rescue works, had managed to open a sizeable portion of the tunnel and also dig a big hole vertically downwards.