NEW DELHI—Hundreds of rescue workers and army personnel used construction equipment, shovels and their hands to dig through debris to try to find survivors of a flash flood that devastated a Himalayan valley in northern India on Sunday.
At least 26 people were confirmed killed and more than 170 remained missing Monday night, according to officials in the state of Uttarakhand, where the incident took place. Authorities said 27 people had been rescued from the debris. Those rescued and missing are mostly construction workers who were building two power plants along the Rishi Ganga and Dhauli Ganga rivers.
“There are around 35 people still trapped in one of the tunnels,’’ an Uttarakhand official said. “The rescue operation is in full swing and we hope to save more lives.”
The Indian government has sent a team of scientists to the affected area to investigate the cause of the incident. Some scientists believe the flood was triggered by what is known as a glacial lake outburst in India’s second-highest mountain peak, Nanda Devi, that sent a wall of water gushing downstream with severe force.
Local television broadcast videos of brown water and debris destroying dams and sweeping away buildings.