A search and rescue operation to reach around 30 people trapped in it after a flashflood-hit Joshimath area of Chamoli district has been on for a week
A search and rescue operation to reach around 30 people trapped in it after a flashflood-hit Joshimath area of Chamoli district has been on for a week

Dehradun/Tapovan: Two bodies were recovered early on Sunday from the Tapovan tunnel after a seven-day rescue operation to reach around 30 people trapped in it after a flashflood-hit Joshimath area of Chamoli district.

The bodies have been recovered from the Tapovan tunnel where a massive search and rescue operation has been underway for a week, Chamoli District Magistrate, Swati S Bhadauria, said.

"Two bodies have been recovered from the tunnel today. Search and rescue operations at Tapovan in Chamoli have been intensified following the recovery of the two bodies," Bhadauria said.

One of the bodies has been identified as that of a man from Narendra Nagar in Tehri district.

Rescue teams have been battling against odds to reach out to the trapped people at the site of the flood-ravaged Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project.

The district magistrate had said on Saturday that 38 bodies have been recovered so far from the flood-hit areas of Chamoli district while 166 are still missing after the disaster.

Earlier on Saturday, rescuers oring a wider and deeper hole into the tunnel at the flood-ravaged Tapovan-Vishnugad hydel project in an attempt to reach the over 30 people trapped inside the tunnel.

"The Silt Flushing Tunnel (SFT) was punctured on Friday night itself by drilling a 75mm-diameter hole into it but now it is being widened to 300 mm so that a camera and a water flushing pipe could be inserted into the tunnel where the trapped are possibly located," General Manager of the NTPC project R P Ahirwal said The hole will have a depth of 12 metres, he said, adding muck removal from the intake Adit tunnel, below which the SFT is located, has been done up to 136 metres.

Rescuers on Saturday had said they were still hopeful of finding survivors, notwithstanding the numerous challenges like the muck and the water from Dhauli Ganga constantly flowing into the tunnels.

However, after the recovery of two bodies late night, the chances of survivors have further dimmed.

(With PTI inputs)

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