The Indian Air Force (IAF) has launched a search and rescue around a 5,200-metre-high pass in Uttarakhand where 17 people – trekkers, porters and guides – lost their way on October 18 due to heavy snowfall and inclement weather.
Eleven bodies have been recovered so far from the area leading to Lamkhaga Pass, which connects Kinnaur District in Himachal Pradesh and Harsil in Uttarakhand.
The IAF responded to an SOS made by authorities on October 20 and deployed two helicopters to Harsil.
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The operation began on October 20 with three personnel of the National Disaster Response Force onboard the helicopter.
The next day, a helicopter was airborne again at first light with State Disaster Response Force personnel onboard, who were able to locate four bodies.
The rescuers then reached another location and winched up a survivor.
On October 22, the aircraft took flight at daybreak and the crew managed to rescue a survivor and bring back five bodies despite unfavourable terrain and strong wind conditions.
Now two more bodies have been located and are being brought back by a joint patrol of Dogra Scouts, 4 Assam, and two ITBP teams on foot. A search for the remaining individuals will be undertaken by the helicopter crew on Saturday.
The rescue teams have handed over the bodies to the police. The survivors were administered first aid at Harsil before they were sent to the district hospital in Uttarkashi.
Floods and landslides have caused at least 55 deaths in the state this week.