Body of person missing in Melamchi tunnel recoveredSecurity personnel recovered engineer Satish Goit’s body on Wednesday while search for the other missing person is still underway.
Security personnel on Wednesday recovered the body of one of the two persons who went missing in the Melamchi Water Supply Project’s tunnel on Tuesday.
Engineer Satish Goit and driver Radha Krishna Thapa Magar had gone missing on Tuesday while Shekhar Khanal, another engineer, and helper Pemba Lama were rescued and taken to Kathmandu for treatment. They are receiving treatment at Grande Hospital.
Security personnel recovered Goit’s body on Wednesday while search for Thapa Magar is still underway.
Triresh Prasad Khatri, chief of the project, said the employees were swept away as water gushed out after breaching Gate No 17 in the Ambathan area.
“I’m not sure how the gate gave way and water burst into the main tunnel. A technical team will visit the site on Thursday and study in detail,” said Khatri. “We will know the details only after their inspection.”
The government has formed a ministerial-level technical team to probe the incident.
The incident occurred within a week of the successful test of the gate along the tunnel of the much-awaited national pride project.
The project has stopped releasing water into the tunnel from Wednesday morning. According to project officials, water will be released into the tunnel only after the breached gate is repaired.
According to Khatri, there are four major gates along the tunnel—one each in Ambathan, Gyalthum, Sundarijal and Sindhu. It is suspected that Gate 17 in Ambathan was breached due to high water pressure.
Nima Gyalzen Sherpa, chairman of Helambu Rural Municipality, said he saw seepage along 500 metres of the tunnel.
“It looks like the tunnel itself is fragile. There could be possible damage to the tunnel as well. The authorities concerned should look into this matter sincerely,” he said.
Meanwhile, the media was prevented from visiting the incident site in Helambu Rural Municipality Ward No. 1 on Wednesday. The project employees sent back various reporters from the gate citing ‘instructions from higher up’.
“We went to the area to report the incident. But they did not allow us to visit the site,” said Kamala Pakhrin, a reporter.Various infrastructures of the much-awaited Melamchi Water Supply Project in Helambu Rural Municipality, Sindhupalchok, have also been damaged by floods triggered by heavy rainfall.