Uttarakhand disaster: Sludge, water entered lungs of those who died
Chamoli Chief Medical Officer GS Rana revealed on Tuesday that all those who died in the Uttarakhand glacial disaster suffered serious bodily injuries, with sludge and water also entering their lungs. On Tuesday, two more bodies were recovered from the Tapovan tunnel, taking the death toll to 58. 148 people are still believed to be missing, reports PTI. Here's more.
In a video statement, Rana said that the post-mortem of all the deceased has been conducted. "I have seen the reports. All of them died of injuries sustained on their bodies and due to sludge and water entering their lungs," he said. To recall, after a disaster struck the Chamoli district on February 7, a massive multi-agency rescue operation was launched to save people.
Earlier on Monday, Rana had commented that "suffocation due to drowning" was the cause of the deaths of most people in the Tapovan tunnel. He asserted that they would have died within half-an-hour after mud and water entered their bodies. People died at the Rishi Ganga power project in Raini village due to the same reason, he had said.
In the last couple of days, rescue teams tried different ways to reach the trapped people. They even attempted to widen a hole drilled into the tunnel system. However, this idea doesn't seem to work as the hole is filled with sludge. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) commandant PK Tiwari claimed that clearing sludge and debris from the entire tunnel could take months.
When quizzed about the chances of survival of those trapped or missing, Tiwari said he can't say anything with certainty. He, however, underlined that miracles do happen. The rescue operations slowed down on Tuesday as water came out of the debris from the portion of the tunnel that is yet to be cleared. Though time and circumstances are not on their side, the rescue teams aren't giving up.
Director General of Police (DGP) Ashok Kumar assured on Tuesday that the rescue operations will continue till the last missing person is accounted for. Meanwhile, the families of those missing are camping near the tunnel, hoping to get any information about their loved ones. However, there are others, like the relatives of one Jammu resident Jitendra, who have started leaving after getting the dreaded news.
Jitendra's younger brother Pawan said seven of them came from Jammu after learning of the disaster. "We had been scouring different areas of Tapovan and Joshimath for four days in search of Jitendra until his body was brought out of tunnel on Sunday," he said.