New Delhi: Death toll in the Amarnath cloudburst rose to 16, according to the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) DG Atul Karwal on Saturday.
Speaking to ANI, Karwal said, “There are 16 confirmed deaths, about 40 still seem to be missing. There is no landslide, but rain continues, though no problem in rescue work. Four NDRF teams with over 100 rescuers in rescue work. Besides, Indian Army, BSF, SDRF, CRPF and others continue with the rescue operation.”
An Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) official on Saturday informed that rescue operation has been intensified in the Amarnath cloud burst incident.
Speaking to ANI, Vivek Kumar Pandey, PRO, ITBP said, “Rescue operation has been intensified, around 30-40 people are still missing we have got information from the local administration. The weather is clear near the Amarnath cave. The injured people have been brought to base using helicopters. Yatra is still on hold and we are advising people not to move ahead.”
The Indian Air Force has deployed two ALH Dhruv and Mi-17 V5 helicopters each from Srinagar for the rescue oerations at the Amarnath cave site. One AN-32 and Ilyushin-76 transport aircraft are on standby in Chandigarh for further requirements, IAF officials informed on Saturday.
In a statement, the ITBP said, “Most of the yatris who were stranded near holy cave area due to flash flood last evening have been shifted to Panjtarni. ITBP had expanded its Route opening and protection parties from Lower Holy cave to Panjtarni. The evacuation continued till 3.38 am. No yatri is left on the track. About 15,000 people were safely shifted till now.”
Meanwhile, Chinar Corps Commander Lieutenant General ADS Aujla reached the cloudburst-affected areas near the Amarnath cave.
However, a retired policeman from Rajasthan's Bikaner, who saved many people from drowning in the flash flood triggered by cloudburst, was swept away in gushing waters near the Amarnath cave shrine, according to news agency IANS. The deceased was identified as Sushil Khatri, former in-charge of Sri Ganganagar traffic police station.
A cloud burst was reported around 5.30 pm at the lower Amarnath Holy Cave on Friday, which resulted in a heavy discharge of water in the ‘Nallah’, adjoining the holy cave. The yatra has been temporarily suspended.
With input from agencies