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Himachal tragedy: Search on for 20 missing persons

Himachal tragedy: Search on for 20 missing persons Rescue teams along with divers and rafters today scoured the Beas River for signs of the missing 19 students of a Hyderabad-based engineering college and a tour guide who were washed away due to sudden discharge of water from the reservoir of Larji Hydropower Project.

National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) teams yesterday recovered bodies of only five students including three girls and a boy. The body of Debasheesh Bose was the last to be recovered near the spot. His parents had arrived here yesterday.

A team comprising 84 NDRF men and 10 divers started the search operation in turbulent Beas River from the accident spot Thalaut and Pandoh Dam this morning, Jaideep Singh, Commanding Officer, NDRF said.

A dozen boats, local divers and rafters are also assisting the NDRF teams in the rescue operations.

Some Army divers are also expected to join the search operations today and the rescue mission would continue till all the bodies are recovered.

The volume of water in Pandoh Dam was very high but the flood gates cannot be opened as there is a threat of the bodies being washed away, officials said.

About 60 students and faculty members of the V.N.R. Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology in Hyderabad were on an excursion to Manali and 25 persons were washed away in flash floods following sudden release of water from reservoir of Larji hydropower project near Thalot on Sunday evening.

All the survivors and five bodies recovered by rescue teams were flown to Hyderabad by an Air India flight last night while families of some missing students who had flown to Kullu with Union Civil Aviation Minister Pusapati Ashok Gajapathi Raju have stayed back and are hoping for recovery of more bodies.

The chances of survival of the missing people are nil as only five bodies have been recovered during the past 40 hours, officials engaged in coordinating the rescue operations said.