India steps up rescue efforts in flooded tunnel

Rescue workers have found the bodies of 36 people since Sunday's avalanche.

Some 171 people remain unaccounted for, most of them workers at the state-run Tapovan Vishnugad hydroelectric project and at the smaller Rishiganga dam, which was swept away by the avalanche-driven torrent.

Relief workers have been drilling inside a 2.5-km-long tunnel connected to the Tapovan project, where slush and water has been so heavy that soldiers have made only halting progress.

"New machines have also been brought here and in Raini (village) as well our team is searching for dead bodies in different parts. The JCB (machines), dumpers have also joined there so, the work there will gather pace," said Commandant, National Disaster Response Force, P.K. Tiwary.

The severe flooding on a bright day was initially thought to have been caused by a part of a glacier in the Nanda Devi region breaking off and crumbling into the Dhauliganga river.

A team of scientists sent to the area to find out what triggered the flood in the ecologically sensitive mountains is expected to submit its report by the end of the week.