The rescue operation in Tapovan of Chamoli district was halted for a brief period as water level in the Rishi Ganga river surged suddenly on Thursday afternoon. According to Chamoli police, the rescue officials were alerted immediately and asked to go to upper peaks. Also, people living in the nearby areas of the river have asked to be alert and not to panic.
Meanwhile, the state government said that death toll has mounted 35 to and 204 people are missing.
After the digging and excavation works, jawans of the army, ITBP, NDRF and SDRF, who are engaged in the rescue works, have managed to open a sizeable portion of the tunnel. But the presence of heavy silt inside the tunnel has slowed down the rescue work. Around 35 people are feared trapped inside the tunnel. Rescuers are also using special gadgets in the search to speed up the rescue operation inside the tunnel. However, no contact has been established yet with the trapped people inside.
According to ITBP, the rescue teams have started a drilling operation to peep into the 'slush flushing tunnel' 12 to 13 meters below the tunnel. The drilling operations started by rescue teams at 2 AM on Thursday to peep into the slush flushing tunnel 12 to 13 meters below.
The about 1,500-metre tunnel has become the focal point of rescue operations in the disaster. The disaster was triggered after a portion of the Nanda Devi glacier burst through its banks in Chamoli district on Sunday, leading to an avalanche and a deluge that ripped through the Alaknanda river system in the upper reaches of the ecologically fragile Himalayas.