NEW DELHI: Around 20-25 engineering students from VNR Jyothi Engineering College, Hyderabad are feared to have been washed away in Beas river after sudden water surge near Saranallah in Mandi, Himachal Pradesh, a district official said. The students were on their way to Manali from Shimla and had stopped to click pictures near a place called Thalaut in Mandi district. Officials said they ventured into the river bed which had less water as the Larji hydro power project at the Beas River was shut during the day.
Speaking to Express, Rakesh Kanwar, Deputy Commissioner, Kullu said that around 6.30 pm when the water rose to dangerous levels the hydropower authorities decided to release some water as per the standard practice of issuing warnings using alarms and hooters. “They used the hooter and alarm to warn and signal people in the area that water will be released from the dam but it appears that being outsiders, the students ignored the sign. Around 20-25 students are feared to have been washed away,” Kanwar said. There were conflicting reports that no warning was sounded. Kanwar said other members of the group who managed to come to the shore were being looked after.
District officials said police and rescue teams were combing the area and three ambulances were rushed to spot. They said a raft search team would start search operations early on Monday morning.
A PTI report, citing information available with authorities in Shimla, said 18 boys and six girls were feared to have drowned. Efforts were underway to get the details of missing students from them, S R Mardi, ADGP(CID) said. Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force, which include deep water divers, too were rushed to help with rescue operations.