IAF choppers try to rescue tourists, bad weather hampers op

Two IAF helicopters were on Thursday pressed into service to rescue nine persons including a senior West Bengal government official stranded due a blizzard at a tourist spot in Rudraprayag.

Dehradun: Two IAF helicopters were on Thursday
pressed into service to rescue nine persons including a senior
West Bengal government official stranded due a blizzard at a
tourist spot in Rudraprayag as inclement weather hampered the
operation for the second consecutive day.
The Indian Air Force helicopters made several attempts
but due to the blizzard and poor visibility, they failed to
land at Mayali top, about 250 km from here, said Ravinath
Raman, District Magistrate of Rudraprayag.

The choppers would again try tomorrow morning to
reach the nine people, including five tourists from West
Bengal, near the Kedarnath area, he said.

A rescue team comprising police personnel and trekkers
sent by the administration also failed to move beyond
Vasukital area due to the blizzard and returned today, Raman
said. Mayali top is at a trekking distance of 5 km from
Vasukital.

The DM said he has also sought help from Indo-Tibet
Border Police, Nehru Institute of Mountaineering at Uttarkashi
and mountaineering institute at Auli to rescue the tourists
and provide them food and water.
According to the information provided by porters, the DM
said, 58-year-old Gautam Vishwas, Joint Commissioner
(Commercial) of West Bengal is among those stranded. The other
four tourists from West Bengal have ben identified as Gautam
(70), Meenu (40), Mathew (25) and Sachin (35). Four others are
porters from Uttarakhand.

The tourists had come on a visit to Kedarnath shrine and
later proceeded to Vasukital and Mayali top, where they are
stranded since Monday. Local shepherds informed the
authorities about the incident.

PTI