As many as 10 were reportedly killed, while more than 20 mountaineering trainees are stuck following an avalanche in Draupadi's Danda-2 mountain in Uttarakhand's Uttarkashi district on Tuesday. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami had earlier tweeted that he had received information that as many as 28 trainees of the Nehru Mountaineering Institute were trapped following the avalanche.
Nehru Institute of Mountaineering principal Amit Bisht said later said at least 10 people have been killed in the incident so far, news agency PTI reported, adding that eight have been rescued.
Rapid, relief and rescue operations are underway by the district administration, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), Indian Army and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel, Dhami said.
Defence minister Rajnath Singh said he was "deeply anguished by the loss of precious lives due to the landslide" and spoke to Dhami and took stock of the situation.
"Deeply anguished by the loss of precious lives due to landslide which has struck the mountaineering expedition carried out by the Nehru Mountaineering Institute in Uttarkashi. My condolences to the bereaved families who have lost their loved ones," Singh tweeted.
Deeply anguished by the loss of precious lives due to landslide which has struck the mountaineering expedition carried out by the Nehru Mountaineering Institute in Uttarkashi. My condolences to the bereaved families who have lost their loved ones.
"Spoke to CM Uttarakhand, Shri @PushkarDhami and took stock of the situation. Rescue operations are underway to help the mountaineers who are still trapped. I have instructed the IAF to mount the rescue and relief ops. Praying for everyone's safety and well-being," Singh said in another tweet.
Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar told news agency ANI that IAF helicopters were deployed for the search and rescue operation.
"There was a group from the mountaineering institute who were on a mission to reach Draupadi's Danda-2 mountain peak, located at 18,000 feet. An avalanche came around 8am and 29 were trapped. Eight were immediately rescued by members of the team. No clarity on deaths yet," ANI quoted ITBP PRO Vivek Pandey as saying.
"ITBP, NDRF, SDRF and local police started the rescue op as soon as information was received. All injured and stranded will be taken to a helipad at almost 13,000 feet first from where they will be brought down to Matli helipad. Will be using ITBP hospital," Pandey said.