Rescuers search Indian resort after flash flood kills at least 26
SHIMLA, India (AFP) Aug 09, 2003
Rescue personnel Saturday scoured the hills near a north Indian ski resort in a search of survivors after a flash flood claimed at least 26 lives, police said.

The rescue team, which included the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Force, sifted through boulders and mud as they resumed the search at Solan Nallah near the Himalayan tourist haven Manali, police officer Devinder Kumar told

"So far only 26 bodies have been recovered, while 14 people are still missing and 18 were injured," Kumar said.

"The strategy today is to scour the entire area where the cloudburst occurred right down to the river Beas into which the torrential waters may have washed away the missing persons," he added.

About 250 labourers -- mostly from Nepal and impoverished areas of eastern India -- were sleeping at a construction site for a tunnel when the floods struck early Thursday.

When completed, the Rohtang tunnel will connect Kullu to the Lahaul valley.

Some media reports put the death toll at 40 or higher and said many labourers could have been washed away by the powerful currents.

Tributaries of major rivers have been swollen by floods in the lower areas of the state and the rains have caused landslides in many places.

In July, at least 100 people were feared killed when a workers' camp constructed at a power project in the Kullu district was swamped by a flashflood.

The casualties were also workers, mostly migrant labourers from India's Bihar state and from Nepal.