The Himachal Pradesh Police has rescued over 300 tourists stranded near the Atal Tunnel at Rohtang after fresh snowfall, an official said on Sunday.
Some tourists had crossed the tunnel on Saturday morning but in the evening, they could not find any resting place in Lahaul due to snowfall and were stranded midway while returning to Manali, Kullu SP Gaurav Singh said.
The Lahaul-Spiti Police in coordination with the Kullu Police sent vehicles through the tunnel in the evening. However, these vehicles were stuck midway while on their way to Manali due to snow and slippery roads, Singh said.
Around 70 vehicles, including a 48-seater bus, a 24-seater police bus and one police quick reaction team (QRT), were deployed for their rescue.
The DSP and the SHO of Manali were involved in the rescue operation which was later joined by the border roads organisation (BRO), the Kullu SP said.
The rescue operation started on Saturday evening and continued after midnight, he added.
All stranded tourists were rescued from Dhundhi and South Portal of the tunnel till 12.33 am and were taken to safer places in Manali.
The SP further stated that the personnel team led by the Manali SHO was still checking en route for any stranded tourist. As per forecast by the Meteorological Department, snowfall around the tunnel is expected in the coming days.
Issuing a yellow weather warning for heavy snowfall in Himachal Pradesh on Tuesday, the MeT Department had forecast rain and snowfall in mid and high hills of the state from January 3 to 5 and on January 8.
The worlds longest tunnel at an altitude of 10,040 feet, Atal Tunnel has become a tourist destination since it was thrown open to the public in October. The 9.02-km underpass beneath 13,058-feet-high Rohtang Pass connects Lahaul of Lahaul-Spiti district and Manali of Kullu district in the state. Almost every tourist who comes to Manali visits the tunnel, considered as a marvellous piece of engineering.