Uttarakhand trek tragedy: 5 trekkers dead, 4 stranded due to bad weather

Uttarakhand trek tragedy: 5 trekkers dead, 4 stranded due to bad weather

Uttarakhand trek tragedy: 5 trekkers dead, 4 stranded due to bad weather

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In a tragic incident, five members of a 22-member trekking team lost their lives, and four others are still stranded due to adverse weather conditions during a trek to Sahastra Tal in Uttarakhand. Rescue operations are ongoing to save the stranded trekkers.

Key Points 

• 22-trekking member group goes missing while en route Uttarakhand’s Sahastra Tal

• Trekking agency informs authorities that four of its members were feared killed

• Rescue teams sent to the spot to rescue the remaining trekkers trapped

Efforts to rescue the stranded trekkers are being conducted at a war footing, involving a joint air-ground operation by the Indian Air Force (IAF), National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), State Disaster Response Force (SDRF), and local authorities. Thirteen trekkers have been rescued, with eight airlifted to Dehradun and the remaining brought to Bhatwari. 

Dr. Meharban Singh Bisht, the district magistrate of Uttarkashi, confirmed the deaths and highlighted the ongoing rescue efforts. He noted the difficulties faced by helicopter rescue teams due to the bad weather at high altitudes, urging ground rescue teams to advance quickly.

The Himalayan View Trekking Agency, based in Maneri (Uttarkashi), had informed authorities that the trekking team, consisting of 18 members from Karnataka, one from Maharashtra, and three local guides, set off on May 29 for the Silla-Kushkalyan-Sahastra Tal trek. The team was scheduled to return by June 7 but lost their way due to severe weather on Monday.

The deceased trekkers have been identified as Sindhu Vakekalam (45), Asha Sudhakar (71), Sujata Mungurwadi (51), Vinayak Mungurwadi (54), and Chitra Praneeth (48), all from Bengaluru, Karnataka.

The rescued trekkers include Sudhakar S (64), Vinay MK (47), Vivek Sridhar (37), Naveen A (40), Rittika Jindal (37), Soumya Kanale (31), Sheena Lakshmi (48), S Shiva Jyothi (45), Anil Jammatige Arunachala Bhatta (52), Madhu Kiran Reddy (52), Jayaprakash BS (61), Bharat Bommanagoudar (53), all from Bengaluru, Karnataka, and Smruti Dolas (45) from Pune, Maharashtra.

SDRF Commandant Manikant Mishra explained that the trekking group, including three guides, faced severe weather while descending from Sahastra Tal, causing them to lose their way. Two members died on the way back, and two more succumbed to the extreme conditions after spending the night there. One more died later. The remaining trekkers were rescued from the base camp and the incident site.

Four trekkers remain stranded and have been identified as Padmanabha Kundapur Krishnamurthy, Venkatesha Prasad KN, Anita Rangappa, and Padmini Hegde, all from Bengaluru, Karnataka.

Uttarakhand has witnessed several fatal incidents involving trekkers and mountaineers over the years. Some notable incidents include: 

In May 2023, a 38-year-old trekker from West Bengal died on the Sankri-Kyarkoti-Harsil trek route.

In October 2022, a team of 41 people was hit by an avalanche near the Dokrani Bamak glacier, resulting in 27 deaths.

In May 2022, the IAF rescued seven trekkers stranded on the Pandav Shera trek in Rudraprayag district.

In June 2019, eight mountaineers heading for the summit near Nanda Devi East were killed by an avalanche.

District Magistrate Bisht has requested additional support from the SDRF and local rescue teams. Talks are also ongoing to involve the Indian Air Force in the rescue operation.

The trekking tragedy in Uttarakhand underscores the perils faced by adventurers in high-altitude treks. As rescue operations continue, the focus remains on saving the stranded trekkers while ensuring safety in the challenging Himalayan terrain.