Ratnagiri dam breach: Death toll rises to 15 as rescue operations continue, 9 still missing

As many as 15 bodies have been recovered and at least 9 others are still missing as the rescue and search operations continued for the second successive day today in Maharashtras Ratnagiri, days after a breach at the Tiware dam washed away seven houses located nearby. The breach in the dam occurred at around 10 pm on Tuesday after heavy rains over two days. The incident led to cutting off at least seven villages downstream the dam. Authorities fear that number of deaths may rise. According to Ratnagiri police, the dam on a rivulet in Chiplun started developing cracks on Tuesday. Even before villagers could be alerted, the dam started developing a rupture, flooding villages and nearby hamlets. As per reports, as many as 12 houses near the dam washed away. Rescue operations are still on with teams from district disaster management cell, local police, fire brigade as also local villagers continue searching for missing villagers. Rescuers had recovered bodies of two adult males in the early hours of Wednesday. The NDRF team that was stationed at nearby Sindhudurg district and also Pune headquarters of 5th Battalion of the NDRF have been moved to the spot since Tuesday night. After reaching the spot, the NDRF team joined the ongoing search and rescue operation along with the local administration. The incident has brought back memories of Panshet flood in 1961, considered as one of the worst dam breaches that Maharashtra. On July 12, 1961, an under-construction Panshet dam breached early in the morning, after a heavy rain. The collapse led to massive floods in Pune and nearby areas. As the water receded, it left a trail of destruction. Even as there is no official count, some estimates say close to 1,000 people lost their lives in the floods.