At least 24 engineering students from Hyderabad are feared drowned in Beas River, Himachal Pradesh.
According to reports, more than 50 students and faculty members from VNR Engineering College in Hyderabad were on a study tour to Himachal Pradesh. They were on a 10-day trip and the tour started from 3 June. The students were travelling from Shimla to Kullu Manali in two tourist buses and had stopped near the Beas River to take photographs.
Some of the students were standing on the edge of the river when a sudden gush of water was discharged from Larji Hydro Power Project's reservoir at around 7 pm, Sunday, reported the Times of India. At least 24 students including six girls, one teacher and a tour manager were washed away in the water.
"We saw a wall of water hit those who were on the banks. They fell flat and disappeared under the waves. The police reached very late and carried nothing to start a rescue operation," one of the survivors, was quoted saying by the Indian Express.
Rescue operation was launched and professional divers, rafters were pressed into service. Local villagers also joined the rescue team to help search for the survivors, but there was no success in finding the students as it was getting very dark.
On Monday morning, rescue workers resumed the search for the missing students and recovered five bodies from the river.
Have recovered 5 bodies till now,the volume of water is making ops a bit tough-Sanjeev,Sashastra Seema Bal(SSB) pic.twitter.com/rV8ySd2T5U
— ANI (@ANI_news) June 9, 2014
Angry residents and tourists blocked the main highway protesting over the incident. They had claimed that the authorities failed to issue proper warning about the release of water from the dam, according to local media. Meanwhile, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has ordered a probe into the incident. A case of negligence has been registered and the erring resident engineer of the 126 MW Larji hydropower project has been suspended. Home Minister Rajnath Singh has expressed concern over the incident. He has also ordered for immediate action to rescue the students washed away in the floods.
I am deeply pained over the tragic incident of engineering students getting drowned in a flash flood in Himachal Pradesh. — Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) June 8, 2014
I have instructed the authorities to despatch a rescue team for immediate action and save precious lives trapped in the floods.
— Rajnath Singh (@BJPRajnathSingh) June 8, 2014
Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao has instructed Home Minister Naini Narsimha Reddy and a police team to visit the tragedy site and co-ordinate with the rescue operations. "Telangana DGP Anurag Sharma and Cyberabad Police Commissioner CV Anand are in touch with top police officials of Himachal Pradesh," Assistant Commissioner of Police (Petbasheerabad Division) M Srinivasa Rao was quoted saying by CNN IBN. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu has also expressed shock and concern over the tragedy. He has also directed the AP Resident Commissioner in Delhi to ensure speedy rescue operations.
Directed AP Resident Commissioner in Delhi to take all necessary steps in providing help to victims families & speed up search operations. — N Chandrababu Naidu (@ncbn) June 8, 2014