At least 24 students from Hyderabad, Telangana are feared to have drowned in a sudden flood of the Beas River Sunday evening. According to witnesses, the flood apparently occurred after the hydropower plant upstream released its floodgates without warning.

The missing students were among a larger group visiting Himachal Pradesh and reportedly had left their bus to take photographs when they were washed away. According to the BBC, angry locals and tourists have blocked the Manali-Kiratpur highway, demanding to know why there was no warning from the dam.

The Indian Express, citing government officials, is reporting that the dam did not properly warn of the floodgates' opening:

The government admitted that the authorities did not follow the right protocol on use of hooters and other warning signals on the release of the water from the hydel project.

A search and rescue operation has been launched, and so far two bodies have been found.

[Image via Flickr]