Eight Punjab Engineering Students Stranded at Snowbound Kullu Pass

Manali: Eight students from Longowal Engineering College, Sangrur in Punjab out on a trek have got caught up in snow and are stranded somewhere on the Chandrakhani Pass (about 12,000/- feet), reports reaching here say. One of the students is said to seriously ill.

Chandrakhani pass is the highest point on trekking route between Naggar and Malana villages of Kullu valley. The pass has been experiencing snowfall since Thursday night.

Two police teams, one team of mountaineers and another team of rescue experts are combing the entire region since today (11.3.2016) morning.

File photo of Chandrakhani Pass

File photo of Chandrakhani Pass

One of the students dialled the helpline 100 number and told the police that they have got stranded somewhere near Chanderkhani and one of their friends is not medically fit.

The students are said to be accompanied by a person from Kullu. The searching police teams have failed to establish telephonic communication with the stranded students since morning.

Police officer Nishchint Singh Negi said search and rescue teams are conducting search operations on both sides of Chanderkhani Pass.

“Students had communicated a landmark where one team reached by late evening but students have not been located there. Some foot track has been found and the trail is being followed to locate the stranded youngsters. Though it is raining heavily but the teams are expected to reach them soon,” said Negi.

Police has been sought from trained mountaineers at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports,Manali.

“We don’t have much detail about students, their trekking route, starting point and destination,” said the police officer.

Naggar-Chanderkhani-Malana is a popular trekking route of Kullu. The experts advisory for amateur trekkers on this to go out on it only after the month of April.

Mountaineering expert Kaushal Bhardwaj says, “Chanderkhani has slopes with high gradients. The region remains covered with snow. It’s no big deal for professional mountaineers but can be fatal for newbie. Though the mountains in Kullu valley experienced less snowfall this winter but a sudden snowfall is always a big risk. There are some tricky and misleading trails near Chanderkhani and trekker can deviate from actual trail and low visibility due to mist is another challenge to overcome.”

Chhape Ram and his team, who are experts in carrying out search and rescue operations in Parvati valley, are also out searching for the students. The temperatures at  Chanderkhani Pass were at freezing point.

Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice. He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express. With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology. Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.

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