Himachal Pradesh tragedy: 2 more Hyderabad students' bodies fished out of Beas river, 17 still missing

Written by PTI | Mandi | Updated: Jun 13 2014, 01:50am hrs
Two more bodies of engineering students from Hyderabad were retrieved today from the Beas river in Himachal Pradesh here as the search operations gained momentum with the joining of the Indian Navy divers.

The victims were identified as T Upendra and Gomoor Arvind Kumar by their parents, Superintendent of Police Mandi R S Negi said.

The bodies were trapped in rocks and rescue teams had a tough time in retrieving them, he said.

With this, the number of bodies recovered during the last four days has risen to eight, while the fate of sixteen students and a co-tour leader is still unknown.

The bodies of five boys and three girls have been recovered so far and 13 boys and three girls are missing.

Meanwhile, 15 divers of the Navy joined the rescue team and an unmanned aerial vehicle has also been deployed to accelerate the search operations.

With the melting of snow in higher hills, the discharge of water in the river has increased and over 550 rescue workers from various agencies under the supervision of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) are already engaged in the massive search operations.

National Disaster Management Authority vice chairman M Shashidhar Reddy, who reached the accident site to oversee the rescue operations, said that two more bodies were recovered from the river today.

"Our divers are facing the problem of poor visibility, the river bed is full of silt and huge boulders and rock are acting as impediments and it is only through 'feel' that the bodies are being recognised," Reddy said.

"The underwater camera did not make much success (due to muddy water) and nowwe are going to deploy a UAE (unmanned aerial vehicle) that will continuously recce the entire area of operation," he added.

Reddy said that all assistance would be provided for the search operation and more equipment and men would if needed be involved.

Telangana Home Minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy has been camping in Mandi for the past threedays along with the parents and kin of the missing students as the rescue operations continue.

"We are expecting that from today onwards, the bloated bodies would start surfacing but it can take two more days as the water is cold and the process of decay of the bodies is slow," Reddy said.

About 60 students and faculty members of Hyderabad's VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology were on an excursion to Manali on Sunday evening when 25 members of the group, mostly students, were washed away in flash floods following the sudden release of water from the reservoir of the Larji hydro-power project.