Srinagar: At least 15 pilgrims were killed while over 40 others are missing after flash floods triggered by a cloudburst hit the Amarnath cave on Friday.
The cloud burst occurred at around 5:30 pm and triggered flash floods enroute the cave. More than two dozen tents and three langers were washed away by the floods. Some other tents were also affected due to the gushing waters, officials said.
While a few persons were rescued, 40-50 people are said to be still missing, sources said. “So far, 15 bodies have been found and at least 5 of them are females” a senior NDRF official told GNS.
Soon after the calamity struck, members of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) along with teams of police, army, ITBP, BSF and other forces launched a massive rescue operation.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha briefed Narendra Modi and Amit Shah regarding the situation incident and ongoing rescue operation. The GoI is extending all the assistance, he said.
“Spoke to Hon’ble PM & Hon’ble HM and briefed about the incident. Hon’ble PM & Hon’ble HM has assured all the help,” he tweeted, adding, “Our priority is to save the lives of people. Instructions have been issued to provide all necessary assistance to pilgrims. I am closely monitoring the situation”.
He also expressed his grief and offered condolence.
“Deeply pained by unfortunate incident of cloudburst at Shri Amarnathji holy cave, in which precious lives have been lost. I send my heartfelt condolences to bereaved families,” he said, adding, “Rescue operation by NDRF, SDRF, BSF, Army, JKP & Shrine board admin is in progress.”
“Rescue work is underway. Army helicopters are also in action. Search operation is on,” Nitishwar Kumar, CEO Amarnath Shrine Board said.
Meanwhile National inference expressed shock and grief over the tragic loss of lives at a base camp for the Amarnath pilgrimage due to cloudburst. “May the deceased rest in peace. Our condolences go out to those who lost their loved ones. Prayers for the speedy recovery of those injured,” NC said in a tweet.
PDP Chief and former Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said she was saddened and shocked to know about the tragic cloudburst accident near the Amarnath cave. “Deepest condolences to the families of those who lost their lives,” she said in a tweet.
CPI (M) leader Mohamad Yousuf Tarigami also expressed deep shock and grief over the cloudburst incident.
While expressing solidarity with the bereaved families, he asked the administration to gear up the rescue operation at the site and demanded ex-gratia relief for the victim families and free-of-cost treatment for those injured in the accident.