Over 24 hours since a flash flood struck Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district, rescue operations continued well into the night on Monday as personnel of the ITBP, NDRF and Army worked to locate around 170 people, mostly labourers working at two power projects, who are still reported missing.
According to the State Emergency Control Room, 26 bodies have been recovered so far from the project sites of NTPC’s Tapovan Vishnugad Hydro Power Project and the privately owned Rishiganga power project.
Officials said rescue operations are centred around a 1,900-metre-long tunnel at NTPC’s Tapovan site, where at least 35 people are believed to be trapped. A barrage at the project site had been washed away in the flood that saw water rise up to 70 feet, leading to debris blocking the 20-feet-wide opening of the tunnel.
The hope that rescue teams are clinging onto at this point is that the tunnel branches into two after 180 metres. ITBP spokesperson Vivek Pandey said the slush is expected to be less from there on.
“Unless the victims drowned in the slush in the first few hundred metres, there is every chance they are still alive deep inside the tunnel. Since it’s a long tunnel, there is likelihood of enough oxygen being trapped there. Once we find even a…