Chamoli Disaster: 166m of Tapovan Tunnel Cleared; Death Toll at 62

Rescuers toiled hard and used different gadgets inside the tunnel in the disaster-hit Tapovan project.

2 min read
Workers wade through accumulated water during rescue operations inside the Tapovan Tunnel, following the glacier burst at Joshimath which triggered a massive flash flood in Chamoli district of Uttarakhand.

Rescuers were busy finding more bodies on Friday, 19 February, as they toiled hard and used different gadgets inside a tunnel in the disaster-hit Tapovan project in Uttarakhand's Chamoli district.

"We have reached 166m deep inside the tunnel and 6m in slope. We are using all gadgets to look for more bodies," a top official said.

Elsewhere also, rescuers used dog squads, binoculars, rafts, and other equipment in their search operation for 143 missing persons. Nearly 204 persons went missing after the 7 February deluge in the Rishi Ganga river.

A total of 62 bodies have been recovered so far after the recovery of two inside the tunnel on Thursday.

Due to the presence of water and sludge inside the tunnel, the excavation work is being hampered. The operation is going on at a slow pace due to the presence of heavy sludge and also as a precautionary measure to bring out the bodies with maximum care.

Thirteen bodies have been found so far from inside the tunnel. The rescuers are working on two major places – one inside the tunnel and the other at the remains of the Rishi Ganga project in Reni. Sniffer dogs are also being used in the rescue operation near Reni village. Besides, searches are also being carried out in the rivers.

A total of 12 teams of SDRF are searching for bodies using binoculars, sniffer dogs, and rafts from Reni village to the downstream Srinagar town area. Rafts are being used in the Rishi Ganga, Dhauliganga, and Alaknanda rivers, which are all tributaries of the Ganga.

After days of digging and excavation work, jawans of the army, ITBP, NDRF, and SDRF, who are engaged in the rescue work, managed to open a sizeable portion of the tunnel and also dug a big hole vertically downward.

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