Uttarakhand glacier breach: Drones, laser imagers deployed to search for survivors in tunnel
- A joint rescue team entered the damaged Tapovan tunnel on Tuesday
- The rescue workers used drones and sniffing dogs to locate the missing people
- The avalanche in Uttarakhand's Chamoli has left 32 people dead
32 bodies have been recovered during the rescue operation in Uttarakhand's Chamoli while 206 people are still missing, according to the Uttarakhand government on Wednesday. The joint team of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and other sister agencies have managed to clear some debris and cautiously enter the 2.5 km-long Tapovan tunnel, where the avalanche on Sunday trapped 25 to 35 people, reported ANI.
Notably, the tunnel has only one entry and bifurcates, making it harder to locate the missing labourers.
Piyoosh Rautela, Disaster Mitigation and Management Centre, told ANI on Wednesday that the teams have not been able to make contact with people of nearly 13 villages after a bridge was washed away.
"We've not able to connect with 12-13 villages after the bridge was washed away. So we are making necessary arrangements like ration, water, electricity for them. Soon we will also set-up a temporary bridge," he said.
The rescue teams are also using drones with high definition cameras, laser imaging and sniffing dogs for the tunnel operation.
"The challenge we are facing is that debris and slush are coming out from the tunnel. Machines to continue to work inside the tunnel. We need to progress carefully as water with high pressure might come from inside the tunnel," Aparna Kumar, DIG Sector HQ, ITBP, told ANI on Wednesday.
"Clearing of debris and slush continued the whole night. About 120 metres of the tunnel entrance stretch is now clear," ITBP spokesperson Vivek Kumar Pandey told PTI on Tuesday.
"The height of the accumulated slush has reduced... ITBP personnel are waiting to enter as soon as possible," he said.
The plant was destroyed and is now a wasteland thickly coated with mud. At a nearby village, four bodies -- including that of a policeman, as well as a severed arm, were found, officials said, reported AFP.
Nearly 206 people were still missing after a wall of water and debris hurtled down a valley in Chamoli on Sunday morning, destroying bridges and roads, massively damaging two hydroelectric power plants and killing at least 32 people.