Dam Dumps Deadly 'Wall of Water' on Students

Dozens missing after hydropower station releases rush of water without warning

By Newser Editors and Wire Services

Posted Jun 9, 2014 10:57 AM CDT

(Newser) – Rescuers in rafts and boats were searching a Himalayan river today for dozens of Indian students swept away when a dam released a rush of water without warning, and police said four bodies had been found. The 25 students from the southern city of Hyderabad had been taking photographs last night on the banks of the Beas River when they were hit by the rush of water from the Larji hydropower station near the mountain resort town of Manali in Himachal Pradesh. They had been part of a larger field trip of some 48 students spending 10 days near Manali. Some students managed to scramble to safety.

"We saw a wall of water hit those who were on the banks. They fell flat and disappeared under the waves," a student identified only as Sumiran told the Indian Express. Kiran Kumar, a professor who was accompanying the students, said he saw the water level rising and told the students to step back from the bank. But "within one or two seconds, the water level increased all of a sudden. Some of the students were washed away right in front of me," he told the AP. Police in Manali said four bodies were recovered this morning after the search resumed at dawn. They said a shortage of boats and divers was hampering the operation. "Officials there are fearing the chances of finding survivors were slim," said a police official.

College staff working at VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology, gather around in the college premises on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India, Monday, June 9, 2014.
College staff working at VNR Vignana Jyothi Institute of Engineering and Technology, gather around in the college premises on the outskirts of Hyderabad, India, Monday, June 9, 2014.   (Mahesh Kumar A.)
Bonath Shekar Naik shows a portrait of his son Rambabu, one of the 24 students feared dead during a field trip near the mountain resort town of Manali, India, Monday, June 9, 2014.
Bonath Shekar Naik shows a portrait of his son Rambabu, one of the 24 students feared dead during a field trip near the mountain resort town of Manali, India, Monday, June 9, 2014.   (Mahesh Kumar A.)
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