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Wednesday, June 12, 2024

India. Avalanche in the state of Sikkim in the Nathu La Pass area. Killed, wounded and many imprisoned

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At least seven people have died after a large avalanche hit the Nathu La Pass in the Indian state of Sikkim. According to The Times of India, a child is among the dead. It is possible that there are still people buried under the snow, but the rescue operation was interrupted when darkness fell.

The avalanche hit at 11.30am local time on the road to Lake Changu, senior police officer Tenzing Loden Lepcha told Reuters. He added that it happened while tourists were taking photos near the stream.

All the fatalities, which according to the latest reports number at least seven (initially six people were said to have been killed), are tourists. Various sources say that between 11 and 30 people were injured. According to Tenzing Loden Lepcha, eight of them are in “critical condition”.

350 people and 80 vehicles stuck on the road to the pass were evacuated due to snow.

Rescue operation suspended for the night

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There are signals that there were warnings about possible avalanches. – The tourists disregarded the warnings and climbed the mountain. Then suddenly an avalanche came down and buried them all for at least an hour before residents, drivers, police and rescuers could extricate some of them, driver Chewang Gyatso Bhutia, who witnessed the incident, told reporters.

At least 27 people were rescued, according to Indian media. It is possible that there are still people buried under the snow, but the search operation was stopped when night fell.

“We have identified all missing persons, we are checking it again to be sure,” said Tenzing Loden Lepcha.

Avalanche at Nathu La Pass in IndiaReuters

Condolences from the Prime Minister

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended his condolences to the families of the victims. “Condolences to those who have lost their loved ones. I hope the injured recover quickly,” he wrote on social media.

Avalanche at Nathu La Pass

Nathu La is a mountain pass in the Himalayas at an altitude of over 4,300 m, which separates the Indian state of Sikkim from the People’s Republic of China’s Tibet.

Thousands of tourists flock to Sikkim every year, known as the Land of Mystical Splendor, located at the foot of Mount Kanchenjunga, the third highest mountain in the world.

Several avalanches have hit the Himalayas in the last two years, killing at least 120 people. A 2018 study published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, cited by Reuters, found that climate change is increasing avalanche risk in the Indian part of the Himalayas.

Reuters, The Times of India, PAP

Main photo source: Reuters

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