Rescue teams recovered four dead bodies from the Beas River on Sunday, of which three have been identified whereas the fourth body will be indentified after a DNA test at Hyderabad.
The total number of bodies recovered has now reached 17 but the bodies of three female and four male students and a co-tour operator are yet to be found.
The recovered bodies belong to the group of 24 engineering students of Hyderabad-based VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology who were washed away in the gushing water of the Beas River at Thalout in Mandi district after sudden release of water from Larjee Hydro- Power project reservoir on June 8.
The deceased students whose bodies have been recovered have been identified as Bairineni Ritwik, Muppidi Kiran Kumar and CH Parmeshwar, all second year B Tech students. "We have recovered four dead bodies from the Beas River on the sixteenth day of the incident today. Out of these four bodies, three have been identified by the college officials who are camping here at Pandoh Dam in Mandi. We have informed the parents who had gone back to Hyderabad,” said DR Dhiman, sub divisional magistrate of Gohar who is overseeing the rescue and search operation at Pandoh.
Dhiman said the bodies had been sent to the Mandi zonal hospital for autopsy and later, DNA sample of the unidentified student along with other three dead bodies, will be sent to New Delhi by road from where they will be airlifted to Hyderabad.
The sub divisional magistrate said the bodies were found floating three to four kilometers upstream of Pandoh Dam reservoir.
The rescue teams have recovered 17 bodies so far but there has been no significant headway in tracing the remaining bodies though high-tech marine devices like side scan Sound Navigation and Ranging (SONAR), Light Detection and Ranging (LIDAR) and an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) were deployed in the search operation.
Most of the bodies recovered so far were found afloat on the surface itself. Over 200 personnel of the national disaster response force, army, navy, Indo Tibet border police, sashatra suraksha bal and local police were involved in the biggest search and rescue operation ever carried out in Himachal Pradesh.
The parents of the students had returned to their respective places when Mandi deputy commissioner, Devesh Kumar, assured them of identification of dead bodies through DNA test if they were found distorted. Telangana transport minister Maheshwar Reddy and superintendent of police (SP) Kartikey along with five members of the Hyderabad engineering college are camping at Pandoh Dam since the last 15 days to oversee the search operation and identify the dead bodies.