Himachal Pradesh tragedy

Twenty four students from an engineering college in Hyderabad are washed away in the Beas river near Mandi in Himachal Pradesh. Six of them are girls. The incident occurred at around 6.30 pm on Sunday when the students, who were on their way to the resort town of Manali for an excursion, were clicking pictures on the banks of the river.

8 June 2014 – 6.00 pm

A students group from the VNR Vignan Jyothi Engineering College were supposed to visit 126 MW Larji hydel power project on river Beas near Thalot, 40km from Mandi. However, it was cancelled due to shortage of time, Kiran Mai said. The students were in two buses while a group from one of the buses went near the river for taking photographs.


Google Earth Image of Accident Spot of Himachal Pradesh Tragedy of students group from the VNR Vignan Jyothi Engineering College

8 June 2014 – 6.30 pm

A sudden release from the reservoir of the Larji dam led to a surge in the water level in the river which is feared to have swept away the students. The missing students were part of a 46-member sightseeing group from the VNR Vignan Jyothi Engineering College. The group’s tour manager is also missing.

8 June 2014 – 9.30 pm

Two teams of the National Disaster Response Force, which include deep water divers, have been rushed to help with rescue operations. The NDRF teams, comprising 84 personnel, have been disptached following a directive from Home Minister Rajnath Singh, a Home Ministry official said. However, darkness and strong river currents hampered search operations during night.

9 June 2014 – 8.00 am

Until late Sunday night, no bodies had been recovered though two bodies surfaced in the morning. These are still to be identified.

9 June 2014 – 8.30 am

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted his , “I am deeply pained over the tragic incident of engineering students getting drowned in a flash flood in Himachal Pradesh. I have instructed the authorities to dispatch a rescue team for immediate action and save precious lives trapped in the floods.”

9 June 2014 – 9.oo am

Resident engineer of the Larji power plant said they were under a compulsion to release water as electricity demand reduced and the dam was too full. (All staff members of the Larji dam were suspended pendng an enquiry). Resident engineer Mandeep Singh told CNN-IBN: “It has been confirmed by officials at the dam site that they sounded the hooters. It is definitely tragic that such an accident has happened. We request people time and again not to venture near the river.” Singh said the hooters had been sounded and local residents warned the students to get out of the river, but they did not pay heed. “For safety of the dam structure we have to release water as and when required,” Singh said.

9 June 2014 – 10.30 am

Another body was recovered from the Beas river, taking the body count to three.

9 June 2014 – 12.30 pm

HRD minister Smriti Irani reached Manali and took stock of the situation. Reportedly, she spoke to the locals and was apprised of the several problems faced by the locals due to the burgeoning water levels. “I have been told that a probe has been ordered. We will reach a conclusion after the probe comes to an end. As of now, we are trying to make sure that the survivors reach their home state as soon as possible. This incident was very unfortunate, I hope that I never have to come back to Himachal Pradesh in a situation like this,” said Irani.

Minister Smriti Irani said “I have visited the accident spot today and was told by locals that there is a primary and secondary school which is functioning, very close to the accident site on the edge of the river. And the local citizens are extremely concerned about the safety of the children who are going to that school. I have expressed my concern to the local administration with regards to the safety of the children who are currently studying in those schools.”


Google Earth Image of primary and secondary school near the Accident Site of River

9 June 2014 – 1.00 pm

Telangana Home Minister Naini Narsimha Reddy and government officials along with a police team today left for Himachal Pradesh in the wake of 25 engineering students from the city being washed away in the Beas river in the hill state.

9 June 2014 – 1.30 pm

Kiran, a professor accompanying the students, said that the water was released by the Larji Dam officials so suddenly that they didn’t get time to respond. “I saw them, the students when they were standing on two big boulders clicking photographs. Then the water was hardly one or two feet deep. Suddenly, in a matter of two-three minutes the water rose by 4-5 feet and washed away all the 24 students. The locals were saying that they tried to call us and had blown whistle, but we couldn’t hear them from where we were. An alarm would have been much more helpful,” said the professor.


Google Earth Image of Accident Spot of Himachal Pradesh Tragedy of students group from the VNR Vignan Jyothi Engineering College

9 June 2014 – 3.30 pm

Chief Minister of Himachal Pradesh Virbhadra Singh visited the spot to take stock of the situation. He has suspended one Resident Engineer of the hydel project and marked a divisional commissioner level inquiry into the whole incident. He has assured all possible help including transportation of bodies to their native place. A control room has been set up at Mandi for any information.

Himachal Pradesh CM Virbhadra Singh said that the Manali tragedy was shocking and unfortunate, especially since the site of the mishap is a popular tourist spot and nothing like yesterday’s incident had taken place in the past.

9 June 2014 – 10.00 pm

The Himachal Pradesh DGP tells CNN-IBN that the siren was sounded before releasing water from the dam. “The sudents must not have heard it because of the noise from the river,” DGP Sanjay Kumar said.

9 June 2014 – 10.30 pm

The Minister of Civil Aviation, Shri Ashok Gajapathi Raju will visit Manali to oversee rescue and relief operation for the victims of Dam Tragedy and their family members. The operation is being undertaken in coordination with the Government of Andhra Pradesh. Steps are being taken to facilitate airlifting of parents of the victims to Kullu Manali.

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