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Sahastra Tal tragedy: 9 trekkers from Karnataka dead, several residents stranded: rescue underway

Nine trekkers are confirmed dead in a 22-member team that was trapped by severe weather during a trek to Sahastra Tal, Uttarkashi. Rescue efforts led by Uttarakhand officials have saved ten trekkers, with 11 still missing. Karnataka's government is actively coordinating the rescue, emphasizing the challenging terrain and the urgency of the situation.

Karnataka govt contacts Uttarakhand govt to rescue stranded trekkers as 4 feared dead in Sahastra Tal trek vkp
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First Published Jun 5, 2024, 2:41 PM IST

Nine trekkerss from Karnataka, have died due to extreme weather conditions in Uttarakhand. The deceased are Sujata (52), Padmini Hegde (35), Chitra (48), Sindhu (45), Venkatesh Prasad (52), Anita (61), Asha Sudhakara (72), Padmanabhan KPS (50), and Vinayak from Bengaluru. Three residents of North Kashi had gone as trekking guides with 18 from Bangalore and one from Pune. Among the trekkers stuck in Sahastra Tal of Uttarakhand, Soumya, Vinaya, Shivjyoti, Sudhakar, Smriti and Seena have been rescued.

The trekking team, which included 19 trekkers and three guides, embarked on their journey on May 29 and was scheduled to return by June 7. However, on their return, they encountered severe weather with heavy snowfall and strong winds, which caused them to lose their way and become trapped.

The rescue operation, led by Uttarkashi District Magistrate Meharban Singh Bisht, involves the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), the Air Force, forest personnel, police, and local volunteers. The operation, which began at 7 AM on Wednesday, has so far successfully rescued ten trekkers, with four of them being sent to Dehradun for further examination.

Revenue Minister of Karnataka, Krishna Byre Gowda has travelled to Dehradun to personally oversee the rescue efforts. Acting on the directions of the Chief Minister, he aims to ensure the safe return of all stranded trekkers. Additionally, the Disaster Management Commissioner of Karnataka, Sunil Kumar, has been dispatched to Dehradun to coordinate the rescue operation.

Despite the successful rescue of some team members, 11 trekkers remain unaccounted for. Efforts to locate and rescue them are ongoing, with authorities utilizing all available resources. The incident has highlighted the challenging terrain of Sahastra Tal, located at an altitude of 4,100 to 4,400 meters, making rescue operations particularly difficult.

Up until 1:50 p.m., the following individuals have been successfully rescued:

Soumya Kanale, Wife of Vivek Sridhar, NR Bangalore City Karnataka, aged 36 years. (Sent to Dehradun)

Vinay MK, Son of Krishnamurthy, aged 49 years. (Located in Uttarkashi)

Seena Lakshi, aged 48 years. (Sent to Dehradun)

Shashi Kiran, Wife of Shivjyoti, aged 46 years and above. (Sent to Dehradun)

Sudhakar, Son of B.S, aged 64 years. (Located in Uttarkashi)

Smriti, Wife of Gururaj, aged 41 years. (Sent to Dehradun)

Madhu Reddy, aged above 52 years. (Sent to Dehradun)

Sundar, Son of Jayaprakash, aged 61 years. (Sent to Dehradun)

Bharat, Son of Mahadev Gola, aged 53 years. (Sent to Dehradun)

Anil Bhatt, Son of Arunachal Bhatt, aged 52 years. (Sent to Dehradun)

Vivek Sridhar, aged 42 years. (Located in Uttarkashi)

Karnataka Minister Krishna Byre Gowda released a statement regarding the Sahastra Tal trek tragedy:

In a combined rescue operation by the Military, SDRF, and various local organizations, several trekkers have been rescued. These include Soumya Canale, Memory Dolls, Sheena Lakshmi, S. Shiva Jyoti, Anil Jamtige Arunachal Bhatt, Bharat Bommana Gouder, Madhu Kiran Reddy, and Jaiprakash B.S. Additionally, three more trekkers, S. Sudhakar, Vinay MK, and Vivek Sridhar, are currently at Natin-Bhatwadi, while two trekkers, Naveen A and Ritika Jindal, have reached Silla village and are in normal condition.

So far, the bodies of five trekkers—Sindhu Wakelam, Asha Sudhakar, Sujata Mungurwadi, Vinayak Mungurwadi, and Chitra Praneeth—have been brought to Uttarkashi. Efforts are ongoing to trace four more trekkers, but operations were halted today afternoon due to bad weather and will resume tomorrow morning. Coordination with the Government of India is in progress for the transportation of the bodies to Bengaluru. On behalf of the Government of Karnataka, I extend my sincere condolences to the families of the deceased visitors. We thank the swift response from the Government of Uttarakhand, SDRF, IMF, Indian Air Force, Government of India, and various other organizations.

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