Search on for 28 missing in Kullu

Shimla, July 28 (IANS) Search operations continued on the sixth day on Tuesday for the 28 passengers from Punjab who got drowned when their bus fell into the swollen Parvati river in Himachal Pradesh.

Eleven bodies have been taken out and 23 people rescued, police said. The passengers were travelling to a Sikh shrine in Manikaran.

Kullu Deputy Commissioner Rakesh Kanwar told IANS over the telephone that search operations were on to locate the bodies.

Though one more body was recovered from the river, it was not that of the missing passengers, he said.

The official said the bus was still untraceable, and the divers could not successfully carry out the operation as the river was still in spate.

“The flow in the river today (Tuesday) came down marginally owing to less rain in the catchment area. We are hopeful that the water level will decrease in one or two days,” he added.

Rescuers said there were chances that the remaining bodies, which were in the process of getting bloated, would start surfacing in the water.

In the first two days, nine bodies were recovered.

Over 150 rescue workers are involved in the search operation, focusing on the 44 km downstream stretch of the river from the accident spot to Pandoh dam.

Most bodies, officials said, were either trapped under the rocks or buried in the riverbed silt.

Meanwhile, parents and family members of many of the missing passengers met Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh here on Tuesday and sought cooperation from the government to locate the bodies.

The chief minister assured the families all possible help, including providing ex-gratia to the accident victims.

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