Five days after the boat tragedy in Maphou Dam reservoir, a body of one of the three missing tourists was fished out. On April 28, three tourists went missing after two makeshift boats that they were travelling on capsized.
The body was fished out about 100 metres away from the incident site by men from Chadong village. The village surrounds the dam reservoir and the villagers have been assisting the search operations since day one. Using a makeshift boat, the villagers have been sweeping the water by lowering a local-made hook. At around 3pm on Thursday, the village search party fished out the body after it got caught in their hook.
On Wednesday, 15 deep divers of the Indian Navy joined the search operation in addition to the NDRF, Manipur Fire Services. The Navy team landed in Imphal late Tuesday evening by an IAF aircraft with their diving equipment including Sonar Technology. Despite being equipped with ‘state of the art’ technology, the search teams are fighting against the elements of weather.
It is learnt that the divers could not spend more than 15 minutes underwater as the temperature is said to be as low as 5 degree Celsius. Moreover, low visibility, underwater submerged vegetation and construction of the dam is adding to the woes of the search parties.
AK Ranjit, coordinator of the entire operation said, “We are trying to cover as much area as we can both underwater and on the surface. We are even using a helicopter to scan the surface of the water and hopefully we will be able to recover the body of the remaining two missing persons very soon despite the odds”.
Maphou Dam is part of the Thoubal Multipurpose project which assures to augment water for irrigation and drinking water for entire Imphal Valley. As per an official estimate, 1215 hectares of land have been submerged by the construction of the dam. Based on a survey conducted by NGOs more than 8000 tribals (and non-tribals) in 22 villages have been affected by the dam.