The Indian Army said the avalanche incident took place in Sumna area of Joshimath Sector in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district on Friday afternoon
Even as rescue operations continue in Uttarakhand’s Sumna area where an avalanche hit a Border Roads Organisation (BRO) camp on Friday afternoon, the death toll has risen to 8 and is expected to increase further.
As per the latest inputs, the Indian Army said a total of 8 bodies have been recovered from the site. Further, 384 persons have been rescued so far and six of them are said to be critical. They are currently receiving medical treatment.
The Army said rescue operation is in progress at the avalanche site located in Sumna area of Joshimath Sector of the hill state’s Chamoli district. According to the Army, multiple landslides had also taken place in the area, snapping road access to the BRO camp. Rescue operations were hampered as a result. Teams of the Border Road Task Force (BRTF) were working to restore the road access.
“Road access is cut off at 4 to 5 locations due to multiple landslides. BRTF teams from Joshimath working to clear the slides en route from Bhapkund to Sumna since last evening. It’s expected to take another 6-8 hrs to clear this complete axis,” the Army said earlier in the morning.
The avalanche incident was initially described as a glacier burst. Rescue operations were halted for the night due to adverse weather conditions and they resumed in the morning. Surya Command, the Indian Army’s Central Command, earlier informed on Twitter that a BRO camp was hit by an “avalanche” on the afternoon of April 23 (Friday) during heavy snowfall in Sumna area. Initial rescue operations were hampered by blizzard conditions.
“While 55 BRO persons could be mustered at first count, blizzard conditions kept rescue operation at bay till late evening. In a night rescue operation undertaken by the Army, another 150 GREF persons trapped in the BRO Camp have been rescued and brought to safety. Rescue operations are still in progress to locate the remainder persons still trapped under snow or stranded at work sites since late evening,” the Central Command had tweeted earlier.
It said mountaineering rescue teams and air support had been put on standby to aid in the rescue operations.
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had taken “immediate cognizance” of the avalanche incident in Sumna of Niti Valley yesterday. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Tirath Singh Rawat said the home minister had assured of all possible help and instructed the Indo-Tibetan Border Police to stay vigilant.
On Friday night, Colonel Manish Kapil, Commander, Border Road Task Force, had confirmed that a glacier had burst near Joshimath on the India-China border.