VNR Chairman Becomes Emotional over Death of Students Drowned

VNR Chairman Becomes Emotional over Death of Students Drowned

24 engineering students, including six girls, are feared to have been washed away this evening in River Beas near Thalot on Manali-Kiratpur Highway, 40 km from Mandi, police said on Sunday.

The sight seeing trip to Himachal Pradesh turned tragic for the Hyderabad students who were taking photographs on the bank of the river.

Gushing waters of the Beas swept them away after water was suddenly released from the reservoir of 126 MW Larji hydropower project.

The incident took place around 7 pm near Thalot, 61 km from Mandi, when the students from the Hyderabad-based engineering college VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering & Technology, Bachupally, Nizampet, were trying to click photos on the bank of the river.

The students drowned when water from Larji dam was suddenly released without any warning.

Rescue operation

As the tunnel joins river Beas, the students were thrown into the middle of the river. While some managed to reach the bank, others were swept away. Some students were drowned while trying to save others, police said.

"Exact number of students who were swept away is not known as the rescue operation is still on. They were trying to click the photos near the Larji dam tunnel when the dam staff suddenly released the water from the dam located on other side of the tunnel. The students were unaware of the water threat. The flow of the water was so strong that they did not get a chance to reach the bank. While some were washed away and were thrown into river Beas, some even tried to save themselves by climbing on rocks. They were drowned as the water force increased. Some were saved by locals by throwing ropes," Kuldeep Rana, Additional SP, Mandi, said.

Another police official said that when the water was being released, the locals also raised the alarm but the dam staff ignored the same.

No warning was issued before releasing the water.

According to the police, there were 61 people, including students and staff, who were on their way to Manali in two college buses. There were 13 girl students.

Local administration swung into action after the police was informed by the locals.

The darkness hampered the rescue operation which continued till late night.

People living along the two sides of the river bank downstream of the dam have been alerted to inform the police about any person sighted by them.

Massive search operations have been launched to trace the missing students but there was no success due to darkness.

The incident has sent shock waves and parents and friends of the missing students are making frantic calls to know about their whereabouts.

This is the second major accident in the state in less than three months.

Nearly two months ago, 15 people were killed and nearly two dozen injured when their overloaded mini- bus rolled down a 400- feet deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh's Sirmaur district. The bus was on its way from Milla village to Paonta Sahib.

In another accident in 2013, all 21 people travelling by a private mini-bus were killed when the vehicle skidded off the road and rolled down more than a 500-foot deep gorge in Himachal Pradesh's Sirmaur district.

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