Disasters & Accidents

Avalanche kills 7 on mountain pass between India, China

(updates toll, adds details)

New Delhi, Apr 4 (EFE).- At least seven people died and several others suffered injuries on Tuesday in a snow avalanche that hit a mountain pass in India’s Himalayan state of Sikkim near the border with China, the army said, adding that rescue operations were underway for some 15 missing.

“14 persons were rescued and taken to nearby Army medical facility. However, seven persons succumbed. The other seven persons were administered first aid,” the Indian army said in a statement.

Those injured were transferred to the state capital of Gangtok, the statement added.

The avalanche hit the mountain pass of Nathula that connects India’s Sikkim and Tibet. The 4,000-meter pass is very popular with tourists.

“Approximately 5-6 vehicles along with 20-30 tourists on way to Natu La are feared to have been stuck under the snow,” said the army, which launched a rescue mission with the state disaster management forces and the police.

Police officer Sonam Detchu Bhutia told EFE that rescue operations remain underway.

“As far as the last report came to us, 15 to 20 persons were playing with the snow, all tourists, when the avalanche hit the area,” said Bhutia.

The Indian Army shared footage of the rescue operations, with security forces and locals trying to dig out people buried in the snow avalanche on a hillside.

One of the videos also showed military personnel carrying an apparently unconscious young woman to an ambulance.

In one of the worst events of its kind in India, more than 50 people died in February 2021 after an avalanche hit a Himalayan valley.

The melting of a massive snow mass from Mt Nanda Devi, one of the highest peaks of the Indian Himalayas, triggered the avalanche. EFE


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