Icy winds kill 8 on Rohtang Pass in Himachal

Shimla: Eight persons were reported to have been killed when high speed winds blowing over the 13,050 feet high Rohtang Pass, near Manali had trapped about 70 people who were attempting to cross it on foot on Friday afternnon.

Early winter snow had closed the pass, a fortnight ago, and the people stranded on either side of the pass which connects Kullu valley with the landlocked Lahaul valley were attempting to cross over the snow tracks on the pass.

Deputy Commissioner Kullu, BM Nanta stated that around 70 people were caught in strong icy winds at around 1.30 p.m. while crossing the Rohtang Pass (13,050 feet) near Rani Nala. These people were trying to access Kullu valley on foot from the Lahaul side, he added.

“Initial reports mentioned put the number of dead people in the storm at eight and many others are said to have reached out safely,” said Nanta. Most of the persons who died are migratory labourers from Bihar and Jharkhand, he said .

He said that although they were advised against crossing the Rohtang Pass, but they did not pay heed to the warning issued.

The Rohtang Pass has been closed for traffic since Nov 9 because of heavy snowfall in region from the last many days.

Governor Prabha Rau and chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal have condoled the death of the victims.

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