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Uttarakhand disaster: Two more bodies found, raising toll to 60
Dehradun, February 18, 2021
Using dog squads, binoculars, rafts and other equipment, rescuers continued their search for missing persons in the disaster-hit areas of Uttarakhand where two more bodies were found inside a tunnel of the Tapovan project on Thursday.
A total of 60 bodies have been recovered so far after the recovery of the two bodies on Thursday, a police statement said.
The Chamoli region in Uttarakhand was hit by flash floods in the morning of February 7 after a glacier burst. About 200 people were reported missing after the incident, including more than 30 workers of NTPC's Tapovan power project, who were trapped in a tunnel.
Due to the presence of water and sludge inside the tunnel, the excavation work is being hampered.
However, State Director General of Police (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 at 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 inside.
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," admitted the official. There is still no contact with the remaining trapped people inside.
The rescuers are working on two major points -- 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 near Reni village. Besides, the searches are also being carried out in rivers.
A total of 12 teams of SDRF are searching for bodies using binoculars, sniffer dogs, rafts from Reni village to downstream Srinagar town area. Rafts are being used in Rishiganga, Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers, which are all tributaries of the Ganga.
After days of digging and excavation work, jawans of the Army, ITBP, NDRF and SDRF, who are engaged in the rescue work, had managed to open a sizable portion of the tunnel and also dig a large hole vertically downwards.