Seven days on, rescuers still 300 meters away from core area in Savitri river

  • Pranab Jyoti Bhuyan, Hindustan Times, Mahad
  • Updated: Aug 09, 2016 01:46 IST
The strong current of the river and heavy rains has been hampering rescue efforts after an old bridge connecting to the Mumbai-Goa highway collapsed on Tuesday night in Mahad, India. (Satish Bate/HT)

Seven days after three vehicles with 41 people were washed away in the bridge collapse over the Savitri river in Mahad, rescuers are still not able to operate within the 300m core area of the accident spot because of strong currents .

Authorities had traced 26 people and parts of the missing buses till Sunday evening. But, no bodies were recovered on Monday.

Authorities are still clueless about where the three vehicles could be, and the 15 people travelling in the buses and the Tavera are yet to be traced.

“The strong current pushed us about a kilometre away from the core area near the collapsed bridge. The water level has gone down in the past few days and the current has also reduced. But we are still 300m away from the core area,” said Anupam Srivastav, commandant, National Disaster Response Force( NDRF), which is conducting the search and rescue operations.

Sources said NDRF personnel tried to enter the core area with speed boats several times, but their boats were capsized by the current. One official was injured in an attempt.

“We think the bodies are inside the vehicles stuck in the core area. Our officials are working 12 hours a day to trace the vehicles ,” Srivastav said.

Officials are also focussing on an area near the Kemborli village, 15km from the spot, as the river makes a u-turn there.

“Twelve bodies have been recovered from that area in the past five days. So we have deployed more personnel there,” Srivastav said.

The NDRF has divided the search and rescue area into four segments.

“First, around 500 m from the accident spot, the second is between 500m to a spot before the Dadli bridge, the third is from the Dadli bridge area and fourth is at the the u-turn near Kemborli,” Srivastav said.

On Monday, officials also took several groups of civilians on their boats to trace the missing vehicles and people. The Indian Navy and Coast Guard personnel have continued their operations in the Arabian Sea and some other parts of the river.

Meanwhile, the families of the 15 missing people wait at the government help centre in Mahad, slowly losing patience and hope.

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