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Himachal tragedy: One more body found, 17 students still missing

Mandi (Himachal Pradesh): Rescuers on Thursday retrieved one more body from the Beas river near Mandi town, where a strong current of the river washed away a group of 24 engineering college students from Hyderabad last Sunday.

The retrieval takes the confirmed toll in the tragedy to seven. Seventeen students are still missing. The latest victim has been identified as T. Upendra, police said.

More than 550 rescue workers from various agencies continued with a massive search operation for the fourth day to locate the missing students. The operation was hindered by rain on Wednesday.

Also read: Himachal tragedy: Case against project authorities, search on

"I am satisfied with the rescue operation they are doing their best," Telangana Home Minister Nayani Narasimha Reddy, who is camping here, told IANS.

Telangana MP A.P. Jitender Reddy also reached here.

The tragedy occurred when a group of students, on a trip to Manali, was washed away Sunday evening when water was released into the river without a warning from a nearby hydropower project.

Also read: Himachal tragedy: Five bodies recovered, students blame state 

Police have registered a case against the hydropower project authorities for causing death by negligence and endangering life of others.

The case was registered on the basis of eyewitnesses' accounts that the hooter was not sounded by the project officials before releasing the water into the river.

Meanwhile, National Disaster Management Authority vice-chairman M. Shashidhar Reddy Thursday reached the accident spot, some 200 km from the state capital Shimla, to oversee the rescue and search operation being carried out by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).

A total of 20 divers of NDRF and 18 of the army have been involved in the search operation, focusing on the 15-km long downstream stretch of the river from the Larji hydropower project dam to the Pandoh dam.

A team of 84 NDRF people and personnel from the army, the Sashastra Seema Bal and the ITBP, the state police are involved in the dawn-to-dusk search operation.

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