Sept. 7: Fresh searches in the upper reaches of the hills near Kedarnath have yielded 122 more bodies over the past two days, police said in Dehradun today.
Police sources said 186 bodies had been found so far during this third phase of searches, including the 64 found on September 3-4.
Inspector-general (law and order) R.S. Meena said 122 bodies were found during searches on September 5 and 6. “On September 5, 54 bodies were found as the police team scouted the upper ridges of the hills near Rambada while yesterday, 68 were found around the same place,” he told reporters in the Uttarakhand capital.
“All these bodies appear to be those of pilgrims who were on the run towards the hills, hounded by the flash floods of June 15-16, only to be caught up in flood and debris. Some of these bodies buried in the rush of sand and debris were dug out by the rescue team.”
All these bodies were found in the upper reaches of the hills between Garurchatti and Gaurikund, within a distance of 7km from the Kedarnath temple, officials said.
A 25-member team of police and state disaster management officials, led by DIG G.S. Martolia, had launched the search on September 2 as the administration needed to clear up the area before regular worship at the temple resumes on September 11. Martolia is camping at Kedarnath.
“The search team has been immensely helped by good weather. There has been no rain for the last four days. The team is expected to return to Dehradun on Sunday after completing searches at Gaurigaon, Bheembali and some areas of Junglechatti where the last rescue team could not enter,” V.J. Singh, senior superintendent of police, Rudraprayag, said.
On September 8, a 24-member team of priests and mahants will reach Kedarnath to purify the temple.