Kashmir avalanche: 9 civilians rescued

Last Updated: Fri, Feb 24, 2012 14:40 hrs

Nine civilians who were trapped in an avalanche in north Kashmir's Sonamarg hill station were rescued in a joint operation by the army, the air force and the civilian administration on Friday.

They were trapped in the avalanche on Thursday.

"Nine people trapped in an avalanche under the Shitkari Bridge in Sonamarg area were rescued today (Friday) in a joint rescue operation by the army, the air force, local police and the civil administration, with the help of locals," provincial disaster management authority said in a statement that was issued on Friday.

"They had got trapped in the avalanche on 23rd Feb. The nine persons were airlifted in choppers of the army and the air force, using rope ladders as landing in the area was not possible..one ALH Chopper and one Cheetah helicopter participated in the rescue. Wing Commander Vikram and Flight Lieutenant Desai flew the helicopters. The rescue started at 7 a.m. Friday," it said.

The statement said that the rescued people were shifted to Sonamarg from where they would be airlifted in a Mi-17 chopper to Ganderbal town.

At least 19 Indian soldiers were killed and three were still missing after their camps were swept away by avalanches in Ganderbal and Bandipora districts of Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday.

While one incident took place in Gurez area of Bandipora district killing 16 soldiers, another occurred at Sonamarg of Ganderbal district claiming three lives.

Kashmir is witnessing a severe winter this season and heavy snowfall has disrupted life.

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