Uttarakhand Floods Update: Rescuers continue search operation

Rescuers on Saturday continued clearing a tunnel of the disaster hit Tapovan project in Chamoli district in Uttarakhand and also searched other places to find more bodies.

Due to heavy water and sludge, excavation work is going on at a slow pace inside the tunnel where 13 bodies out of the 25-35 buried people have been recovered so far, top police officials said.

The tunnel has already been dug at a level of 166m deep and 6m in slope. Water is continuously being pumped out of the tunnel, officials said.

Rescuers had recovered one body at Helang area near Joshimath on Friday even as they used dog squads, binoculars, rafts and other equipment in their search operation for 142 missing persons. Nearly 204 persons went missing after the February 7 deluge in the Rishiganga river.

A total of 62 bodies have been recovered so far after the recovery of two bodies inside the tunnel on Thursday. Due to the presence of water and sludge inside the tunnel, the excavation work is being hampered. The operation is going on at a slow pace due to the presence of heavy sludge and also as a precautionary measure to bring out the bodies with maximum care.

During the excavation work inside the tunnel, 13 bodies have been found so far. 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 near Reni village.

A total of 12 teams of SDRF are searching for bodies using binoculars, sniffer dogs and 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 works, jawans of the army, ITBP, NDRF and SDRF, who are engaged in the rescue works, have managed to open a sizeable portion of the tunnel and have also dug a big hole vertically downward.

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