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Navy, NDRF stop rescue operations

AGE CORRESPONDENT
Published : Aug 15, 2016, 3:30 am IST
Updated : Aug 15, 2016, 3:30 am IST

Naval divers and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel on Sunday stopped the search operations launched after the Mahad bridge collapse.

The remains of the SUV recovered. (Photo: PTI)
 The remains of the SUV recovered. (Photo: PTI)

Naval divers and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) personnel on Sunday stopped the search operations launched after the Mahad bridge collapse. But the Raigad district administration has claimed that it will launch a joint operation with the Mahad police and local villagers to keep searching for the missing victims for another two months. Navy divers on Sunday also found the wreckage of an SUV, in which two bodies were found. The family members later identified the bodies.

Raigad collector Sheetal Ugale said, “In normal cases, according to norms, a search for a body is conducted for seven years before the person is declared to be dead. But in the case of the Mahad bridge collapse, the state government had come out with a special government resolution (GR) according to which we will have to continue with the search operations for another two months. Later, if we do not find these bodies, the persons concerned will be declared dead, thus paving the way for economic help being given to those families whose bodies have not been recovered.”

MS Ugale added, “We have recovered 28 dead bodies till date and the same were identified by the respective families. We suspect the total number of victims to be 40, which means that we are assuming that 12 more people are missing.”

On Sunday, the wreckage of a Tavera (vehicle number MH 04 GD 7837) was found 300 metres from the damaged bridge, submerged under four to five metres of water in the Savitri River. NDRF personnel and the district administration have been informed, said a defence ministry statement.

The two bodies found on Sunday are of two men who were travelling in the SUV. It is suspected that three more people were travelling in the SUV.

Meanwhile, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation has announced a compensation of Rs 14 lakh to the kin of each deceased travelling in the ST buses that fell into the river and Rs 10 lakh each to the family of the deceased travelling in the other vehicles involved in the tragedy.

Timeline of Mahad tragedy August 2: A British-era bridge collapsed around 11.30 pm, with two buses and about two private vehicles that had fallen into the swollen Savitri River declared to be missing.

August 4: Five bodies were recovered, including that of the driver of an ST bus. This followed chief minister Devendra Fadnavis ordering a judicial probe into the bridge collapse.

August 11: Navy divers located the wreckage of one of the two ST buses that fell into the river.

August 13: Naval divers located the wreckage of the second ST bus that was washed away in the river on August 2, but no bodies were found.