Uttarakhand floods: 12 bodies found, no trace of 154 people still | Latest News India - Hindustan Times
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Uttarakhand floods: 12 bodies found, no trace of 154 people still

Feb 15, 2021 02:09 AM IST

Chamoli’s district magistrate Swati S Bhadauria said: “In the morning two bodies were first recovered inside the tunnel after clearing the muck to a distance of about 125-130 metres. Following that, three more bodies were recovered till Sunday afternoon.”

Rescue personnel on Sunday recovered the bodies of five people trapped in the 1.7-kilometre-long main tunnel of NTPC Limited’s hydropower project in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, and found seven more elsewhere, taking the confirmed death toll to 50 in the devastating flash floods triggered by a rockslide and the formation of a glacial lake in the mountainous terrain.

Members of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) carry the body of a victim after recovering it from the debris inside a tunnel during a rescue operation after a flash flood swept a mountain valley destroying dams and bridges, in Tapovan in Uttarakhand, India,(Reuters)
Members of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) carry the body of a victim after recovering it from the debris inside a tunnel during a rescue operation after a flash flood swept a mountain valley destroying dams and bridges, in Tapovan in Uttarakhand, India,(Reuters)

At least 154 more people are still missing exactly a week after the flash floods, which were immediately followed by the launch of the rescue operation. Around 35 people had been trapped inside the main tunnel and a smaller underground tunnel located beneath it.

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The five bodies in the tunnel were recovered after the rescue workers cleared slush inside to a distance of about 130 metres.

Chamoli’s district magistrate Swati S Bhadauria said: “In the morning two bodies were first recovered inside the tunnel after clearing the muck to a distance of about 125-130 metres. Following that, three more bodies were recovered till Sunday afternoon.”

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“The administration has kept seven ambulances and a chopper on standby in case any of the workers is found alive from the tunnel,” Bhadauria added.

A team of rescue workers is trying to drill its way to the smaller tunnel to rescue about 30 workers trapped inside, she said. “On Saturday, the rescue workers finished drilling vertically in the main tunnel to reach out to a small underground tunnel beneath it at a depth of 12.7 metres. They, however, hit slush after drilling to the required depth, which they have been pumping out to get inside to search for workers trapped inside it,” she said.

Rescue workers recovered seven other bodies including six from Reni village near the Rishi Ganga hydel power project, which was the first one to be hit by the flash floods in Sunday’s disaster. One body was recovered from the Alaknanda river in Rudraprayag.

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Nilesh Anand Bharne, deputy inspector general of police(law & order), said that out of the 50 bodies recovered so far, 25 have been identified.

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“Of the 50 bodies, 41 were recovered from Chamoli district, seven from Rudraprayag and one each from Tehri Garhwal and Pauri Garhwal districts,” said Bharne.

“Apart from the bodies, the rescue workers also recovered 23 human body parts. DNA samples of all the body parts and dead bodies have been collected to ascertain their identities.”

The police officer said rescue workers have so far “cremated 32 bodies and 11 human body parts with complete rituals and respect. The rescue agencies have also videographed and photographed the jewellery, tattoo and other identity marks of the bodies found.”

“The rescue workers are working tirelessly to recover the remaining bodies. The family members can contact helpline numbers- 01372-251487 and 9084127503 for any queries or help,” said Bharne.

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