Navy divers abandon search operation in swollen Parvati River, Kullu

Kullu : The navy team pressed into search operation for tracing the missing bodies of Manikaran private bus accident victims have abandoned the effort as they were not able to effectively carry out the task because of strong river currents hindering use of sensitive equipment.

An overloaded 52 seater private bus, carrying 69 pilgrims from Punjab, had plunged into the swollen Parvati River at Sarsari village of Manikaran valley on July 23.

Since the accident 14 bodies have been recovered but 31 are still missing and despite a lot of efforts having been made divers and other rescue and recovery teams, the remaining accident victims have not been found.

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The district administration had requisitioned a 12 member team of navy divers, headed by Commander Tilak Thakur, to assist in the search operation but the fast flowing river is both dangerous and difficult to negotiate to trace the missing bodies of accident victims.

District magistrate Rakesh Kanwar told Hill Post that it had been decided to wind up the navy search operation but 160 personnel from national disaster rapid force (NDRF), SSB, ITBP and home guards would continue in trying to locate bodies of the missing persons.

Relatives of the victims, camping at a Gurudwara in Kullu, are hoping to find the mortal remains of their near and dear ones so that the last rites can be preformed. With none being located, hopes of finding them are fading with each passing day.

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Anger is also brewing among them against political leaders for not visiting them to review the search operation.

“When 24 students from Hyderabad were washed away in River Beas last year, many leaders from Telangana had visited the accident site at Thalot and Kullu to support the families of the victims but no one from Punjab has come to share our plight here at Manikaran,” said one of the relatives.

He also demanded that an enquiry about a overloaded 52 seater bus was allowed to travel on a narrow Bhunter Manikaran road should be conducted.

A theater artist, a script writer and a TV anchor, news is something that grips Renuka. She lives in Kullu.

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