SHIMLA: Rescue workers Monday morning recovered two bodies from Himachal Pradesh's Mandi district while the fate of 22 others washed away in the flooded Beas river is still not known, an official said.
With this the death toll in Saturday's accident rose to two, Deputy Additional District Magistrate Pankaj Rai told IANS over the phone.
At least 24 students, including six girls, of the V.N.R. Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology in Hyderabad were reported missing after strong currents in the mighty Beas river washed them away. Their chances of survival of the rest of them were bleak, officials said.
More than 60 students and faculty members were on an excursion to the picturesque tourist resort of Manali. Some of them were getting themselves photographed on the banks of the river in Thalaut area near the Hanogi Mata temple when they were reportedly washed away as the flow in the river suddenly increased.
The victims were travelling in two buses.
The river was suddenly in spate with the release of water from a nearby hydropower project.
Rai said one of the bodies was recovered from Pandoh dam, some 20 km downstream, whose floodgates were closed after the accident.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has ordered a probe and ordered the suspension of erring resident engineer of the 126 MW Larji hydropower project being run by the state electricity board. A case of negligence has been registered.