Two tourists were Thursday killed and another was injured when a tree, uprooted by a severe storm, fell on the tent in which they were sleeping in a nature park managed by the Himachal Pradesh government in Narkanda area.
The incident took place at around 3.50 am in the nature park, 65 kms from Shimla. Ashok Sidhu (45) and Rajesh Kumar (36) were killed on the spot. The duo hailed from Jalandhar and were employed by the Punjab Education department, police said.
The injured, Gagan Kumar, was admitted to Indira Gandhi Medical College and Hospital in Shimla, they said, adding there were eight more persons in the adjoining tents who escaped unhurt.
The nature park, located in the lap of thick pine forests at an altitude of 9,000 feet, is managed by State Forest Corporation.
Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh has expressed grief over the incident and directed the Forest Minister to provide all help to victims’ family.
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Vice Chairman of Forest Corporation Kewal Singh Pathania and Managing Director Lalit Mohan rushed to the spot and supervised the relief and rescue works.
“A severe storm hit Narkanda and surrounding areas in the wee hours and two Punjab tourists sleeping in the tent in the nature park were killed while another was injured and rushed to hospital,” Pathania said.
He said relief would be given to the next of the kin of the deceased as per the norms and the government would make arrangement for sending the bodies to the native places of the victims.
Pathania said, “It was an accident. The tree was green but the storm was so severe that it could not withstand the pressure of high velocity winds that swept the area.”