THIS is the dramatic moment a huge flood washed away a dam in India after a glacier crashed through it – leaving at least nine people dead.
A further 150 people are missing and feared dead after part of a Himalayan glacier broke off and smashed into a dam, triggering a massive flood of water and debris.
Villagers have been evacuated and Indian authorities have launched a search operation.
The flood was caused when a portion of Nanda Devi glacier broke off in the Tapovan area of the northern state of Uttarakhand this morning.
A video shared by officials taken from the side of steep hillside shows a wall of water surging into one of the dams and breaking it into pieces with little resistance before continuing to roar downstream.
Sanjay Singh Rana, who lives on the upper reaches of the river in Raini village, said: "It came very fast, there was no time to alert anyone.
"I felt that even we would be swept away."
The Rishiganga hydropower plant on the Alaknanda River was destroyed, while the Dhauliganga hydropower plant on the Dhauliganga River was damaged, said Vivek Pandey, a spokesman for the paramilitary Indo Tibetan Border Police.
Om Prakash, chief secretary of Uttarakhand, said 100 to 150 people were feared dead but the actual number had not yet been confirmed.
State police chief Ashok Kumar told reporters more than 50 people working at the dam, the Rishiganga Hydroelectric Project, were among those feared dead though some others had been rescue
Flowing from the Himalayan mountains, both rivers meet before merging with the Ganges River.
Pandey said all 12 workers trapped inside a tunnel at the Dhauliganga project were rescued and provided first aid.
Surjeet Singh, a police official, said nine bodies have so far been recovered amid intensified rescue operations.
Pandey said soldiers, who are experts in mountaineering and rescue operations, had been called in.
"The situation is under control and there is no need for panic." he added.
Officials said when the glacier broke it sent water trapped behind it as well as mud and other debris surging down the mountain and into other bodies of water.
Many villages were evacuated as authorities issued an advisory urging people living on the banks of the Alaknanda and Dhauliganga rivers to immediately move to safer places.
Several houses were damaged in the flooding, said Ravi Bejaria, a government spokesman – although he did not have details on the number and whether any of the residents were injured, missing or dead.
Authorities emptied two dams further down the river to stop the flood waters from reaching towns of Haridwar and Rishikesh, where popular tourist spots on the banks of the Ganges River were shut and all boating activities were stopped.
Uttarakhand police chief Ashok Kumar said officials immediately alerted residents living in the area and evacuated them to safer places.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a tweet said he was constantly monitoring the situation.
He added: "India stands with Uttarakhand and the nation prays for everyone's safety there."
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