India glacier avalanche leaves 18 dead, more than 200 missing (UPDATED)
Rescuers searched for more than 200 people missing in the Indian Himalayas on Monday, including some trapped in a tunnel, after part of a glacier broke away, sending a torrent of water, rock and dust down a mountain valley, Reuters reports.
Sunday’s violent surge below Nanda Devi, India’s second-highest peak, swept away the small Rishiganga hydro electric project and damaged a bigger one further down the Dhauliganga river being built by state firm NTPC.
Eighteen bodies have been recovered from the mountainsides, officials said.
Most of the missing were people working on the two projects, part of the many the government has been building deep in the mountains of Uttarakhand state as part of a development push.
“As of now, around 203 people are missing,” state chief minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said, and the number was changing as more information about people caught up the deluge emerged from the remote area.
Videos on social media showed water surging through a small dam site, washing away construction equipment and bringing down small bridges.
Rescue squads were focused on drilling their way through a 2.5 km (1.5 miles) long tunnel at the Tapovan Vishnugad hydropower project site that NTPC was building 5 km (3 miles) downstream where about 30 workers were believed trapped.
On Sunday, 12 people were rescued from another much smaller tunnel.