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Uttarakhand: 9 Trekkers In A 22-Member Group Dead Due To Harsh Weather, 13 Rescued

Nine out of a 22-member trekking group perished after getting disoriented in harsh weather conditions during the Sahastra Tal trek in the upper Himalayas of Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand. Officials reported this on Wednesday, mentioning that the remaining 13 trekkers have been successfully rescued. Officials reported that a combined air-ground operation was initiated by the Indian […]

8 trekkers were airlifted to Dehradun on Wednesday (HT)
8 trekkers were airlifted to Dehradun on Wednesday (HT)

Nine out of a 22-member trekking group perished after getting disoriented in harsh weather conditions during the Sahastra Tal trek in the upper Himalayas of Uttarkashi district, Uttarakhand. Officials reported this on Wednesday, mentioning that the remaining 13 trekkers have been successfully rescued.

Officials reported that a combined air-ground operation was initiated by the Indian Air Force, National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), and local authorities. From the group of 13 trekkers rescued from the Uttarkashi-Tehri border trek, eight were airlifted to Dehradun on Wednesday.

“Nine people have been killed, while 13 have been successfully rescued. We have brought 5 bodies down, remaining 4 will be retrieved tomorrow as we had to suspend the rescue operation due to bad weather today,” said a senior SDRF official, not wishing to be named.

A 22-member trekking group, comprising 18 trekkers from Karnataka, one from Maharashtra, and three local guides, was dispatched by the Himalayan View Trekking Agency, Maneri, on May 29. Their trek covered a distance of 35 kilometers to Silla-Kushkalyan-Sahastra Tal, a medium-sized high-altitude lake situated at approximately 4,600 meters altitude, starting from Uttarkashi.

The team was supposed to return by June 7 but encountered bad weather while descending from Sahastra Tal towards the base camp, as reported by Uttarkashi district disaster management officer (DDMO) Devendra Patwal.

Upon receiving this information, the District Magistrate instructed the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) headquarters to promptly dispatch rescue teams and urged local rescue teams to reach the site. Bisht also coordinated helicopter rescue operations through the Indian Air Force (IAF) to aid the stranded trekkers.

On Wednesday, two Chetak helicopters from the Indian Air Force (IAF) and a private chopper were deployed for the rescue mission along the trek route. Additionally, the SDRF dispatched two teams, one from Dehradun and another from Uttarkashi.

“The 22-member trekking group, including three guides, was expected to leave for the Sahastra Tal on May 29, two of them stayed back at the base camp due to bad health. Twenty of them reached the summit. While trekking down, the group met with the bad weather and lost their way,” said SDRF Commandant Manikant Mishra.

While 13 members, including the two from the base camp, were successfully rescued, the official added that five others were discovered deceased.

“We along with other rescue teams rescued 11 trekkers using the choppers. Of the 11 trekkers, eight were sent to Dehradun in a chopper and three were brought to Bhatwari. Two more were on their way back to Silla village under the guidance of local guides,” Mishra added.

The deceased trekkers have been identified as Sindhu Vakekalam (45), Asha Sudhakar (71), Sujata Mungurwadi (51), Vinayak Mungurwadi (54), Chitra Praneeth (48), Padmanabha Kundapur Krishnamurthy (50), Venkatesha Prasad KN (53), Anita Rangappa (60), and Padmini Hegde (34), all residents of Bengaluru in Karnataka, officials confirmed.

The office of Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami shared on X that he was in regular communication with senior officials regarding the rescue operation.

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13 Rescued9 trekkers deadTDGThe Daily GuardiantrekkersUttarakhand