Avalanche hits J&K, Russian skier dead, 6 rescued

Srinagar: An avalanche at Gulmarg, one of the most popular skiing and snowboarding hotspots in Asia, on Thursday killed a Russian skier. Five other skiers and a local instructor were rescued in a search and rescue operation launched immediately after the incident.

Officials said that the major avalanche roared down an adjoining mountain, trapping six Russian skiers and their guide at Khilan Marg, in the outer circle of Gulmarg known as ‘Army Ridge’ at an elevation of approximately 2,730 metres (8,957 feet) above sea level.

On learning about the incidents, rescue teams from the Gulmarg Ski Patrol of the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department and the police moved into the area to help them. “All the seven persons stuck under the snow were retrieved but despite the valiant efforts of the rescue teams, one Russian skier tragically lost his life in the incident,” a spokesman of the tourism department said.

The spokesman added, “Those quickly moved to safety by the daring teams of the rescuers are currently under the care of the (Baramulla) district administration, receiving basic medical treatment. One skier sustained minor injuries but is in stable condition and is receiving treatment at a local hospital.”

Gulmarg is hosting more than 800 athletes and officials from twenty states and Union territories including J&K who are participating in the 4th edition of Khelo India winter games at the resort, 51 km from the capital Srinagar. The officials said that all of them are safe and the ongoing sporting events remain unaffected by Thursday’s incident.

“The area where the avalanche occurred is far from the Kongdori area, where the 4th Khelo India Winter Games are currently being played,” an official statement said.

Nuzhat Gul, secretary of the J&K Sports Council, added, “The incident did not hamper Khelo India. All the athletes have returned to their hotels and other accommodation after successful completion of the day’s fixtures in the Kongdori area.”

Kongdori is a bowl-shaped area that lies between Gulmarg and the summit of the Apharwat Peak, situated at a height of 4,390 metres (14,403 ft) above the sea level.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle )
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