7 tourists killed in Sikkim avalanche, rescue operations underway
Guwahati: Seven people were killed and many others are feared to be trapped under the snow after a massive avalanche hit the Nadu La Pass in Sikkim today.
“By 3 pm, 14 people were rescued and taken to the nearest army hospital. However, seven died. Seven others were given first aid and returned to Gangtok,” the army said in a statement.
Around 5-6 vehicles and 20-30 tourists are feared to be trapped under the snow on their way to Nadu La, the army said.
The avalanche occurred on the 15th mile of the Jawaharlal Nehru Road connecting Gangtok to Nadhu La at around 12.15 pm when at least 150 tourists were in the area.
Natu La Pass, at an altitude of 4,310 meters (14,140 ft) above sea level, is located on the border with China and is a major tourist destination.
Videos from the site showed the extent of the tragedy. Dozens of people were seen involved in rescue operations and trying to dig out the trapped people.
In one video, a half-buried man can be seen picking up snow with a shovel in what appears to be a rescue.
Search and rescue operations are underway for the missing persons by the Army, State Disaster Management Committee and Police.
Around 350 stranded tourists were also rescued after the snow was cleared from the road.