BRO Launches Major Avalanche Rescue Operation In Sikkim
Launching a major rescue operation, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has rescued 22 tourists who were trapped in a sudden avalanche on the Jawaharlal Nehru Marg in East Sikkim.
Seven tourists were killed as a massive avalanche hit East Sikkim’s Nathu La area on Tuesday (4 April) morning, burying their vehicles under the snow.
The avalanche hit the arterial Jawaharlal Nehru Marg (JNM), which connects state capital Gangtok to Nathu La at the China border, around 12am.
There were about additional 22 tourists, taking photographs on the snow clad mountain, who got trapped in the sudden avalanche at milestone 14 on the JNM road.
According to the BRO, swift rescue operation was launched by Project SWASTIK. Twenty two tourists have been rescued till now, out of which, six rescued tourists from the deep valley side have been shifted to the nearest hospital.
One lady found to be buried under snow was rescued after one and half hour efforts and was sent to STNM Hospital in the BRO ambulance. In addition 15 tourists who were partially buried under snow were rescued and given first aid and have been sent back to Gangtok.
Condoling the deaths, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he hopes the injured recover soon.
"Distressed by the avalanche in Sikkim. Condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. I hope the injured recover soon. Rescue ops are underway and all possible assistance is being provided to those affected,” PM Modi said in a tweet.
Nathu La, situated at 14,450 feet above sea level, is one of the three open trading border posts between India and China. It is a major tourist destination because of its scenic beauty, and is a part of the centuries-old silk route. Several permits are required to visit the area.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah was closely monitoring the situation. The tourists were not permitted to travel beyond milestone 13 due to inclement weather, but they forced the tour operators and the drivers to take them to the area — between milestones 13 and 17 — where the avalanche struck.
There were about 350 tourists and 80 vehicles stranded at the avalanche site, who have been rescued after snow clearance from JNM road and sent to Gangtok after medical check up by BRO doctors.
Rescue operations are still underway by BRO to ensure that no more tourists are trapped/buried under snow. The rescue operation is being monitored at site by Chief Engineer of Project Swastik, BRO along with his team of officers and men.
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