It is turning out to be a complex task to retrieve bodies of the remaining 19 missing students of VNR College and tour operator Prahlad who got washed away in river Beas in Himachal Pradesh three days ago.

Notwithstanding the massive search operations by the police, military, National Disaster Response Force and local administration along the 17-km long downstream of the river from Largi dam to Pandoh dam, families of missing persons were waiting for the water level to recede to find the bodies. “Unless the water level comes down, it would be difficult to trace the bodies if they get struck in between rocks beneath the stream,” a police officer said.

The body of student Debashish Bose, recovered on Tuesday morning, showed up as the water level came down at that point. Injuries on his body indicated that he hit rocks, a Cyberabad police official coordinating with local administration in HP told The Hindu.

The youngster’s body got stuck in the rocks. It would have been tough for the search teams to trace it if the river water -- which was muddy mostly -- continued to flow at higher level. “Other possibility is the bodies surfacing in the water after getting bloated,” he said.

Some police officials recalled that it took more than a fortnight to recover the last body in the tragedy of a bus falling into river Beas near Mandi of HP last year in which over 30 passengers died. M. Venkateshwar Reddy of Nizamabad, father of missing student Vishnuvardhan Reddy, flew back to Hyderabad on Tuesday after waiting for two days to find his son’s body.