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Uttarakhand Deluge: Rescuers Clear 166m of Disaster Hit Tapovan Tunnel in Chamoli

NDRF in Tapovan tunnel rescue work. (Image: IANS)

NDRF in Tapovan tunnel rescue work. (Image: IANS)

A total of 61 bodies have been recovered so far after the recovery of two inside the tunnel on Thursday. Due to the presence of water and sludge inside the tunnel, the excavation work is being hampered.

Rescuers were on Friday busy finding more bodies as they toiled hard and used different gadgets inside a tunnel in disaster hit Tapovan project in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district.

"We have reached 166m deep inside the tunnel and 6m in slope. We are using all gadgets to look for more bodies," a top official said.

Elsewhere also, rescuers used dog squads, binoculars, rafts and other equipment in their search operation for 143 missing persons. Nearly 204 persons went missing after the February 7 deluge in the Rishiganga river.

A total of 61 bodies have been recovered so far after the recovery of two inside the tunnel on Thursday. Due to the presence of water and sludge inside the tunnel, the excavation work is being hampered. The operation is going on at a slow pace due to the presence of heavy sludge and also as a precautionary measure to bring out the bodies with maximum care.

Thirteen bodies have been found so far from inside the tunnel. The rescuers are working on two major places – one inside the tunnel and other at the remains of the Rishiganga project in Reni. Sniffer dogs are also being used in the rescue operation near Reni village. Besides, searches are also being carried out in the rivers.

A total of 12 teams of SDRF are searching for bodies using binoculars, sniffer dogs and rafts from Reni village to the downstream Srinagar town area. Rafts are being used in Rishiganga, Dhauliganga and Alaknanda rivers, which are all tributaries of the Ganga.

After days of digging and excavation work, jawans of the army, ITBP, NDRF and SDRF, who are engaged in the rescue works, had managed to open a sizeable portion of the tunnel and also dug a big hole vertically downward.

first published:February 19, 2021, 19:40 IST