Ten people are feared dead after an avalanche buried two trucks in Khardung La of Ladakh region in Jammu and Kashmir. So far, five bodies have been recovered and efforts are underway to retrieve the remaining. “The two trucks, carrying 10 civilians, came under an avalanche at Khardungla pass, which is one of the highest motorable roads in the world at 17,500 feet, at 7.00 am,” a defence spokesman was quoted by PTI as saying.
He said the trucks were buried 20 feet deep under debris, nearly 800 metres from Khardungla Top towards South Pullu.
The incident took place when the civilians were digging snow in the area. The Army, local police and State Disaster Response Force are conducting rescue operations.
“Rescue operation launched after civilians got buried under snow. It is believed that they were digging snow at Khardung La in Leh. Digging triggered a snow slide and civilians got buried. We are fearing that the civilians are trapped,” Deputy Commissioner Leh, Avny Lavasa had said earlier today.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, a day after Kashmir witnessed a bout of snowfall, the minimum temperature at most places in the valley increased, providing much-needed relief to residents, PTI quoted a MeT department official as saying.
He said that after Friday, another wet spell is expected for a few days, adding that there is a possibility of widespread rain and snowfall, with higher intensity on January 22. The minimum temperature in Srinagar rose from minus 2.1 degrees Celsius the previous night to minus 1.3 degrees Celsius. Gulmarg ski resort in north Kashmir recorded a low of minus 10 degrees Celsius.
The official also said Leh, in the frontier Ladakh region, recorded a low of minus 12 degrees Celsius, while the mercury in the nearby Kargil settled at minus 20.2 degrees Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of ‘Chillai-Kalan’ – the 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably. ‘Chillai-Kalan’ ends on January 31, but the cold wave continues even after that in Kashmir. The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long ‘Chillai-Khurd’ (small cold) and a 10-day long ‘Chillai-Bachha’ (baby cold).
(With PTI inputs)