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Uttarkashi Avalanche: 4 die in Draupadi Ka Danda-2 expedition, govt launches rescue mission

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Atleast ten bodies have been spotted following a 41-member team from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering was trapped when an avalanche struck at Mount Draupadi Ka Danda-2 peak in Uttarakhand’s Uttarkashi district on 4 October.

Till now four deaths have been confirmed by the State Disaster Management Authority, however details have not been revealed.

Speaking to Livemint, SDRF’s Dy. Comdt Mithilesh Singh said, “No list has been prepared as of yet and the number of casualties too can’t be confirmed as it may increase or decrease.”

Adding more, he said that rescue teams from SDRF, Indian Air Force, Uttarakhand Police and others are trying their best to help the people stuck in the avalanche.

Meanwhile, the disaster management authority said a team of five State Disaster Response Force personnel and three instructors from Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) were dropped off at the institute’s Dokrani Bamak glacier base camp to conduct the search and rescue operation.

Also, two helicopters from the Indian Air Force (IAF) base camp in Uttar Pradesh’s Sarsawa also conducted a recce of the avalanche site before returning to Harshil helipad.

ALSO READ: 4 trainee mountaineers killed in Uttarakhand avalanche

The Advance Mountaineering Course commenced from 14 September at Nehru Institute of Mountaineering in Uttarkashi.

“As per the training schedule on 4 October, the course moved for High Altitude Navigation and height gain to Mount Draupadi ka Danda-II (5670m) at 0400 Am while returning back from the mountain peak the Advance Mountaineering Course were met with an avalanche occurred above camp-1 in which 34 trainees and 07 mountaineering instructors were caught under avalanche at 08.45 hrs,” NIM said in a press release. It added that the rescue work is in progress and as of now 4 bodies have been recovered.

Earlier on Tuesday, an avalanche struck at an altitude of around 17,000 feet about 8.45 am when the team of 34 trainee mountaineers and seven instructors from Uttarkashi-based NIM was returning after summitting, principal Colonel Amit Bisht said.

Col Bisht added that the team members got stuck in crevasses following the avalanche and said ten bodies were spotted, of which four have been recovered. Bad weather and night halted the rescue operations for the night.

After the news spread that four people have died in the avalanche, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed grief at the loss of lives in the incident.

After the incident, Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami visited the State Disaster Management Authority office at the secretariat for an update and cancelled all his programmes for Wednesday.

To help the rescue team, an Army ALH helicopter from Air Force Station in Bareilly is also waiting at the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) helipad in Matli. It will join on Wednesday morning.

The prime minister said, “It is saddening that we have lost precious lives of those associated with a NIM Uttarkashi mountaineering expedition. Condolences to the bereaved families. Rescue operations are underway and the situation is being closely monitored by the authorities.”

With Agency inputs.

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