Avalanche in Uttarakhand: 10 bodies have been found, 19 remain unaccounted for

The death toll from the avalanche in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand climbed to 10 on Wednesday, as six additional bodies were sighted but are still unrecovered. On Tuesday, four bodies were recovered.

On Tuesday morning, a 41-member team from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) was trapped in an avalanche on Draupadi ka Danda-2 (DKD-2) peak. There are still 19 people missing, even though 12 have been rescued.

We currently have 25 people missing, of whom six bodies have been found but have not been recovered. There have been four bodies recovered. As soon as the six bodies are recovered, 19 people will still be missing. State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) Inspector General Ridhim Aggarwal stated that relief and rescue operations would resume on Thursday morning.

So far, 26 people have been rescued by the multi-agency rescue teams – 12 of whom were members of the NIM team, and 14 were at the base camp. A total of 34 trainees and seven instructors were members of the NIM team. In an avalanche that struck around 8.45 am on Tuesday, the team had just climbed the peak as part of the advanced mountaineering course.

According to a report in the PTI news agency, the missing are believed to be trapped in the crevasse in the Dokriani Bamak glacier where the avalanche struck. There are trainees from the following states: West Bengal, Delhi, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Assam, Haryana, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh.

As part of the recovery of the bodies, PTI reported that mountaineer Savita Kanswal was among those found. Kanswal had been attempting to summit Mount Everest in May of this year.

Our base camp has been established at the height of 15,000 feet, about 1,000 feet below the incident site, to reduce the time teams take to reach the site. A temporary helipad has also been installed near the accident scene. Aggarwal stated that a team from the High Altitude Warfare School in Jammu and Kashmir was also arriving to assist us.

An aerial survey was conducted earlier in the day by Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami. For all the affected families, ex-gratia relief has been announced: Rs 2 lakh each for those who have died, Rs 1 lakh each for those who have sustained serious injuries, and Rs 50,000 each for those who have been injured. The state government has issued a statement informing the public that the chief minister has cancelled all Dussehra engagements and travelled to the NIM control room in Uttarkashi to receive an update on the rescue effort.

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