Heavy machinery being used by rescue workers in search and rescue operation in Tapovan.(HT Photo)
Heavy machinery being used by rescue workers in search and rescue operation in Tapovan.(HT Photo)

Chamoli disaster: 6 more bodies recovered; death toll reaches 68, 136 missing

  • Among the six bodies, five were found on Saturday late night while one was found on Sunday morning.
By HT Correspondent, Dehradun
UPDATED ON FEB 21, 2021 06:14 PM IST

The rescue and search agencies involved in the Chamoli tragedy in Uttarakhand found six more bodies at the disaster site till Sunday evening taking the death toll to 68 with 136 still missing.

Among the six bodies, five were found on Saturday late night while one was found on Sunday morning.

Swati Bhadauria, district magistrate Chamoli, said, "The five bodies were recovered near the barrage at NTPC's hydel power project in Tapovan while another was recovered from the project's 1.7 kilometre-long tunnel where the rescue workers are continuously working to clear the muck after 35 workers were reported trapped inside."

She informed that out of the total bodies recovered, 34 have been identified while as many are yet to be identified.

Bhadauria added, "Till now, a total of 14 bodies have been recovered from the tunnel which is in the focus of the rescue operation. The remaining bodies were recovered from various other places."

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She also informed that "The rescue workers have been able to clear the muck up to a distance of about 162 metres in the Tapovan tunnel but are facing difficulty due to the continuous outflow of water from inside."

Meanwhile, the rescue workers are also scanning the Alaknanda river downstream of the disaster site to search for bodies.

"About 70 personnel in 12 teams of the SDRF are searching bodies in the river from Raini village to Srinagar in Pauri Garhwal district alongside the river covering four districts of Chamoli, Rudraprayag, Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal. After recovering the bodies, their DNA samples are being collected for a DNA test with that of their family members to ascertain their identification," said Praveen Alok, SDRF spokesperson.

Of the total 204 missing initially in the disaster, 139 are from NTPC’s Tapovan power plant and 53 from the Rishi Ganga project that was also damaged in the disaster caused by a rockslide and the formation of a glacial lake in the mountainous terrain. About 12 villagers living in the vicinity are also missing.

The disaster also washed away the lone bridge located near the Rishi Ganga hydel power project, cutting off 12 villages namely Lata, Bhangyul, Raini Chak Subhai, Juvagwar, Jugju, Reni Chal Lata, Pang Muranda Gahar, Tolma, Bhalgaon, Pagrasu and Loung Segdi. About 465 families living in those villages have been impacted.

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