Over 100 snow stranded tourists rescued from Lahaul’s Chandra Valley

Shimla: Trapped for a week in snowbound Chandra valley of Lahaul-Spiti, about 16 persons are still to be evacuated even as rescue teams have been able to rescue about 100 people including airlifting 17 of them from the unseasonal snowstorm that hit the region on 8th and 9th of June.

Spearheading the rescue and relief operations, SR Rana, district police chief over phone from Keylong informed that bad weather conditions on Monday hindered rescue operations and about 16 people are still awaiting evacuation from Baatal in Chandra valley.

“Sorties of a six seater small chopper will be flown in early on Tuesday, weather permitting, to airlift the stranded tourists at Baatal, said Rana.

Between Chatru – at the base of Rohtang Pass in Lahaul valley along the Chandra River, and Kunzam Pass that links Spiti valley with Lahaul, over a hundred tourists had got trapped during the unseasonal snowfall on June 8 and 9, district officials disclosed.

With tele-communications having got disrupted, information carried by shepherds moving in the valley about tourists stranded in Chandra valley at Dadraphul, Chota Dhara and Chatru only reached the district administration on 11th June.

A four seater chopper was requisitioned and a recce was carried out on 12th June in which it was observed that that there were several vehicles stranded between Kunzam Pass and Chatru, said Rana

Immediately rescue teams were constituted and by Sunday (13th June), about 50 people from Chatru, 25 from Dadraphul and 10 from Chota Dara were rescued. Besides these, a six-seater chopper was deployed to evacuate another 17 persons, mainly women and children from Baatal, said Rana.

These tourists are mainly from Mahrashtra and were moving towards Keylong after passing through Kinnaur, Kaza and Kunzum La.

Since the weather did not permit helicopter flights today, the remaining people would be airlifted on Tuesday, he added.

US Cyclist Dead

A 56 year old cyclist, Joel Edwards, travelling in Chandra valley died on Sunday on of cardiac arrest at Dorni in Lahaul valley, after he was rescued from Chatru, said SR Rana, SP Keylong.

He was rescued to safety but suffered a cardiac arrest at about 1.30 p.m. Sunday, said Rana.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

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