Mandi (Himachal Pradesh), June 13 :
The search operation resumed Friday to find 16 missing engineering students from Hyderabad and a tour operator who were washed away in a strong current of the Beas river near Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi town.
More than 550 rescue workers from various agencies continued with a massive search operation for the fifth day to locate the missing students in the river bed and along the water course.
The bodies of T. Upendra from Khammam district and G. Arvind Kumar from Hyderabad were recovered Thursday. With this, the rescue workers have recovered eight bodies so far.
The state government has given a toll free No. 1800-180-8024 for people to know about the status of the rescue operation.
An unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) is also being used by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to take images to locate the bodies.
A total of 20 divers of the NDRF and 18 of the army have been involved in the search operation, focusing on the 15-km-long downstream stretch of the river from the Larji hydropower project dam to the Pandoh dam.
The Indian Navy also joined the search operation Thursday.
The tragedy occurred when a group of students of an engineering college in Hyderabad, on a trip to Manali, was washed away Sunday evening when water was released into the river without a warning from a nearby hydropower project.
Police have registered a case against the 126 MW Larji hydropower project authorities for causing death by negligence and endangering life of people.
The case was registered on the basis of witnesses’ accounts that the hooter was not sounded by the project officials before releasing water into the river.
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has issued directions to all hydropower project authorities to follow necessary steps before releasing water which includes use of hooters and announcements on loudspeakers mounted on vehicles.