The toll in the Uttarakhand glacier disaster rose to 68 on Sunday as rescuers recovered one more body from the Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project site, PTI reported. Fourteen bodies have been pulled out of the Tapovan tunnel so far. As many as 136 people are still missing.
The glacier break in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on February 7 triggered an avalanche and massive flooding. The torrent washed away two power plants and five bridges.
On Saturday, five bodies had been found near the Tapovan project barrage. The rescuers, who have been working for 15 days now, also recovered 28 body parts from several places, The Hindu reported.
The police have been able to identify 37 bodies so far. They sent the DNA samples of the family members of missing people to the Forensic Science Laboratory in Dehradun for matching, according to the newspaper.
Meanwhile, the Indian Navy and the Indian Air Force launched a joint operation to measure the depth of the glacial lake formed upstream from Tapovan after the flash flood, PTI reported. The lake was formed above the Raini village in the Rishi Ganga catchment area, according to Hindustan Times.
Naval divers winched down from a helicopter to record the lake’s depth using a hand-held echo sounder (a depth-measuring device). This was done to help scientists ascertain the pressure on the mud of the dam wall.
The Navy said that IAF pilots maintained accurate positioning in the difficult terrain throughout the process.
Meanwhile, the rescuers struggled to clear the muck at the Tapovan tunnel. Chamoli District Magistrate Swati S Bhadauria deployed more excavators at the Tapovan barrage site to expedite the rescue operation.