The death toll from the Uttarakhand glacier disaster, triggering massive flooding of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers has risen to 53 with the recovery of more bodies from the Tapovan tunnel .
“4 bodies retrieved from the Tapovan tunnel. Also, 2 bodies found in Raini village in the morning, taking today’s body count to 6. Out of 204 missing people, 44 have been found. 160 people are still missing” said Ashok Kumar, Uttarakhand DGP
The search operation was intensified following the recovery of more bodies and many are still believed to be trapped inside the sludge-choked Tapovan tunnel.
Rescuers on Saturday began boring a wider and deeper hole into the tunnel at the flood-ravaged Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project in an attempt to reach the over 30 people trapped inside for nearly a week after the Uttarakhand glacier break provoking flash floods in the area and trapping several.
“We are working under a three-pronged strategy to reach those trapped in the tunnel. The hole we drilled yesterday [Friday] is being widened to one foot so as to reach a camera and a pipe inside the silt flushing tunnel where the trapped are said to be located,” General Manager of the NTPC project, RP Ahirwal said.
P Shirwal said a hole with a diameter of one foot will help send in a camera to ascertain the location of the people trapped inside the tunnel after flooding and a pipe to flush out accumulated water.