Indian Army rescues 30 people trapped in cars after double Kashmir avalanches

Residents of an Indian village stranded in cars after snowfall

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The Indian Army rescued 30 people who were stranded in their vehicles following twin avalanches triggered by heavy snowfall in the Himalayan Kashmir Valley late on Tuesday.

The residents had become trapped in their vehicles near Chowkibal-Tangdhar road in the northern state's Kupwara district on Monday night.

A group of avalanche rescue teams from the army and the General Reserve Engineering Force were mobilised for the mission, which took about six hours to complete.

A total of 14 people, including a child and a person with a heart condition, were rescued in the Khooni Nala area. Another group of 16 people stuck in 12 vehicles some distance away on the same road were rescued later and brought to Sadhna Pass.

One person told an army official that they had had a narrow escape as they managed to jump out of their vehicle before it was buried under snow.

“Despite adverse weather conditions compounded by twin avalanches, 14 civilians were rescued and brought to Neelam and 16 civilians to NC pass,” Col Emron Musavi, an army spokesman, said.

“Twelve vehicles were later retrieved during the day on January 18 post-avalanche and snow slide clearance from the road. All the rescued civilians were provided food, medical care and shelter for the night.”

Kashmir Valley experiences harsh winters and parts of the region are prone to avalanches following heavy snowfall. Last year, two avalanches hit the same area but there was no loss of life.

On January 25, 2017, a series of four avalanches killed 24 people, including 20 soldiers, in the Gurez region.

Updated: January 19, 2022, 5:37 PM