Hyderabad: At least 24 engineering students from a private college in Hyderabad were washed away in the Beas River in Mandi district of Himachal Pradesh on Saturday evening. Forty-nine students and 16 staff of VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology, Bachupally, were visiting the river in Thalot village when the mishap occurred.
Rescue workers on Monday morning recovered 5 bodies from Himachal Pradesh’s Mandi district.
“Have recovered 5 bodies till now, the volume of water is making operations a bit tough,” said Sanjeev, Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
Mandi superintendent of police R.S. Negi said that the students were swept away when water was suddenly released into the river from the Laarji Hydropower Project after 6.30 pm. According to the faculty members, who witnessed the mishap, the group was taking photographs when a huge quantity of water rushed down.
“The students were standing on the rocks on the bank when the gates of the Larji dam were opened and the water washed them away. I too fell into the water, but was pulled out by some students,” said Mr Kiran, a faculty member who was with the students.
Mandi Police officials said that the Larji dam is usually opened in the evening as one part of the river gets filled with water from melting ice. “They must have got into the river as there was no water when they reached there. A total of 18 boys and six girls were washed away in the sudden flow of water,” said Mr Negi. The students, meanwhile, said that the rescue team reached late despite the emergency services being alerted.
The SP added that rescue operation had become difficult due to darkness and rapid flow of water. “It’s almost impossible to continue the rescue mission now due to hazardous conditions in the river and the area around. We will resume the operation early morning on Monday,” he said. The excursion team had left for Himachal Pradesh on June 3. The students belonged to all batches of the Electronic and Instrumentation Engineering (EIE) department.