Rescue teams begin drilling operations at Uttarakhand flood site
Uttarakhand glacier burst: The rescue teams have so recovered 34 bodies and as many as 170 people were missing as of Wednesday night.
The multi-agency rescue teams have begun a drilling operation to peep into the Tapovan tunnel where nearly 30 people were feared trapped, police said on Thursday. “We are presently at 6.5 meters,” Uttarakhand director general of police (DGP) Ashok Kumar told news agency ANI.
“Drilling operation started by rescue teams at 2:00 AM today to peep into a tunnel 12 to 13 meters below,” the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) wrote on Twitter. They added that the teams through boring operation will try to see whether the slush flushing tunnel below is clear of slush or otherwise to see chances of trapped persons being rescued from there.
The rescue operations have entered the fifth day following flash floods in the Chamoli district of the state triggered by a glacier burst on Sunday. The rescue teams have so recovered 34 bodies and as many as 170 people were missing as of Wednesday night.
Rescuers said that they were making steady progress as the flood waters were receding slowly and the height of the slush in NTPC Limited’s tunnel in Tapovan was shrinking. However, for families of people believed to be buried in a barrage nearby, hope was dimming.
Benudhar Nayak, commandant of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police’s First Battalion said there was no chance of recovering bodies from the barrage for the time being. “The slush in the barrage is over 20 metres deep since the plant’s construction work was ongoing... The rescuers will themselves sink. Even if they do enter the slush, they won’t be able to recover bodies,” he said.
Chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat, condoled the death of the flood victims. “I pray to God to provide patience to these brave sons and all the dead souls who lost their lives in this disaster and the bereaved families. The government stands with the relatives of the dead in this sad hour. ॐ Peace Peace Peace!,” he wrote on Twitter in Hindi.
He also paid tribute to two policemen who lost their lives during the calamity. “In the natural disaster in Chamoli, we have lost two brave soldiers of our Uttarakhand Police. The Chief Constable Mr. Manoj Choudhary and the constable Mr. Balveer Singh Gadia ji pay their respects to the dedication and passion,” Rawat tweeted.