SDRF men retrieving a body from Alaknanda river on Wednesday.(HT PHOTO)
SDRF men retrieving a body from Alaknanda river on Wednesday.(HT PHOTO)

Death toll in Uttarakhand flash flood rises to 34, 170 still missing

  • Only 10 of the 34 bodies recovered could be identified so far
PUBLISHED ON FEB 10, 2021 08:45 PM IST

Rescuers recovered two more bodies on Wednesday that took the death toll in the Chamoli flash flood to 34 till Wednesday evening.

Authorities also revised the number of missing people from 206 to 204 after two of them - workers of the Rishi Ganga project - were found safe at their residences on Wednesday.

Rescuers are still clearing the slush and boulders from the tunnel in NTPC's hydel power project in Tapovan where about 35 workers are trapped but have been unable to reach them.

Rescuers are now using drones for laser scanning of the tunnel to know the volume of slush inside and trace the location of the trapped workers. Dog squads have also been deployed inside the tunnel.

Out of the total 204 missing people, about 190 are workers working in the two damaged dam projects-- Rishi Ganga and the NTPC's Tapovan project.

"Till Wednesday evening 34 bodies were recovered out of which 10 have been identified while 24 are yet to be identified. Now out of the total 204 missing, 170 are yet to be found," Uttarakhand’s director general of police, Ashok Kumar said.

Among the dead, two were police personnel identified as assistant sub-inspector Manoj Choudhary and constable Balbir Singh. Choudhary was deployed as a security guard at the NTPC project in Tapovan while Singh was at the Rishi Ganga project. Their bodies were found on Tuesday.

"The two personnel were cremated with full state honours on Wednesday in Chamoli. As members of the state police, we are fully behind their family members in this hour of need," said Kumar.

Meanwhile, the state forensic laboratory under Uttarakhand police are collecting DNA samples of the recovered bodies for their identification.

Many of the bodies found were in mutilated condition making them unrecognisable.

Nilesh Bharne, deputy inspector general (law and order) said, "The forensic people are collecting the DNA samples of the recovered bodies kept in the mortuaries based in Karnprayag, Joshimath and Gopeshwar near the disaster site. The samples would be used for their identification by matching them with that of their family members."

Bharne also said that on Tuesday, a WhatsApp group at police headquarters level has also been created with family members of the missing to help identify the bodies.

"We are sharing the photographs and videos of jewellery, tattoos and other identity marks of the bodies on the group to enable their identification," he said.

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