2 More Bodies Recovered From Tapovan Tunnel, Rescue Operations Intensified
Two bodies were recovered from the flash flood-hit areas of Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district today, taking the count in the calamity to 40, as rescue teams battled against odds to bring over 30 people trapped in a sludge-choked tunnel in Tapovan for over a week, to safety.
The bodies were recovered from the slush of the main tunnel at Tapovan where rescue operation have been going on since February 7 following the glacier burst, Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar was quoted as saying by news agency ANI.
These are the first bodies to have been recovered from the tunnel at the site of the flood-ravaged Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project where people were at work when the calamity occurred last Sunday.
The remaining 38 bodies were recovered over the past week from downstream areas of the Dhauli Ganga river, news agency PTI reported.
“Two bodies have been recovered from the slush of the main tunnel at Tapovan where rescue operation was going on since February 7. Uttarakhand Police, SDRF and NDRF jawans are taking out the bodies,” Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar told ANI.
Chamoli District Magistrate Swati Bhadoria, meanwhile, informed that search and rescue operations at Tapovan have been intensified following the recovery of two bodies.
The recovery of two more bodies today has pushed the total number of confirmed dead to 40, while 204 people are still missing.
The bodies were recovered hours after rescue officials successfully drilled a 12-metre-long hole of 75 mm diameter in the intake adit tunnel in an attempt to reach the over 30 people trapped inside for nearly a week.
“There is no water or slush pressure observed in the silt-flushing tunnel. However, the camera could not be inserted due to the presence of slush. Drilling of a larger diameter hole has been planned now. Meanwhile mucking from the intake adit tunnel is in progress. The diameter of bore hole shall be 250-300 mm,” National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Tapovan, General Manager, R P Ahirwal said giving an update on the drilling operation at the tunnel.
Rescuers said they were still hopeful of finding survivors, notwithstanding the numerous challenges like the muck and the water from Dhauli Ganga constantly flowing into the tunnels.
The NTPC’s Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project has suffered heavy damages in the flash flood that followed a glacier break in the Tapovan-Reni area last week. The glacier break led to massive flooding in Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers and damaged houses and the nearby Rishiganga power project.