Uttarkashi Avalanche update: 19 bodies recovered, search continues for 10 missing mountaineers
In the rescue mission, the Indian Air Force deployed two Cheetahs, one ALH and a Mi-17 helicopter. A team of 14 members of Jammu & Kashmir High Altitude Warfare School, Gulmarg, also joined the mission.
Three days after trainee mountaineers and instructors were hit by a massive avalanche on Mount Draupadi ka Danda II on Tuesday morning, the bodies of three more mountaineers were recovered on Friday. On October 5, 12 bodies were recovered, taking the toll to 19. The trainee mountaineers and instructors were from the Uttarkashi-based Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM).
A joint search and rescue operation by the Indian Army, Indian Air Force, ITBP, SDRF, NDRF and NIM is underway to locate 10 missing trainees. It should be noted that out of seven instructors who went for Summit, two were killed while the remaining were rescued.
Rohit Bhatt, among the mountaineers who were struck in an avalanche, was airlifted to the district hospital in Uttarkashi on Wednesday and shifted to Rishikesh AIIMS Hospital in a private chopper for better treatment. Rohit Bhatt shared his ordeal with Asianet Newsable over the phone on Wednesday.
In the rescue mission, the Indian Air Force deployed two cheetahs, one ALH and one Mi-17 chopper. A team of 14 members of Jammu & Kashmir High Altitude Warfare School, Gulmarg, also joined the mission.
As per an official, only two bodies have been identified so far. The identification process of others is on. In the operation that is entering the fourth day, a total of 42 personnel from NIM, 34 from the Army, 12 from ITBP, 14 from HAWS and 8 from SDRF are involved in the speedy rescue mission.
On Thursday, the Indian Air Force's Mi-17 took off from Uttar Pradesh's Saharanpur with oxygen cylinders and other essential goods to be delivered at the avalanche site.
Nayab Subedar Anil Kumar, the instructor leading the team and who was among the 14 injured mountaineers brought down from the NIM base camp and admitted to the district hospital on Wednesday, said there were 42 climbers in the team, including 34 trainees.
Kumar said during the avalanche, 33 climbers took shelter in a crevasse.
'I hung on to the left of the crevasse as I was ahead of the rest. I undid the ropes when the snow began to settle and started rescuing my teammates. The other instructors also joined in,' he said, adding that it took them two hours to remove the snow in the absence of proper tools.
Those who could be spotted were pulled out. A total of 29 team members were stuck inside the crevasse despite their efforts, the NIM instructor said.