Chamoli, Uttarakhand, India - In a tragic incident on Sunday, a group of pilgrims was struck by an avalanche in Atlakoti, Uttarakhand, resulting in the death of a woman while five others were successfully rescued. The incident occurred when a fragment of a glacier broke off along the Hemkund Sahib Yatra route, leaving a group of six pilgrims stranded.
Promptly responding to the distress call, a joint search and rescue operation was launched by the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and the Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP). Despite their valiant efforts, one woman remained missing following the incident. Tragically, her lifeless body was discovered during the search and rescue operation.
The deceased has been identified as Kamaljit Kaur, who was among the six Sikh pilgrims trapped in the avalanche. "ITBP and SDRF successfully rescued five pilgrims on Sunday. During the search this morning, the team found the body of a female pilgrim, Kamaljit Kaur, in the snow," stated SDRF Commandant Manikant Mishra.
The recovered body was handed over to the local police by the SDRF for further procedures. The incident has sent shockwaves through the region, highlighting the unpredictable nature of avalanches and the risks associated with undertaking treacherous journeys in mountainous terrain.
The Hemkund Sahib Yatra, a revered pilgrimage route, had recently resumed after being temporarily halted due to heavy snowfall and an alert for anticipated heavy rains. Situated at a breathtaking altitude of 4,633 meters above sea level, Hemkund Sahib is known as the highest Gurudwara in the world, earning its name "Lake of Snow" due to its snow-covered surroundings.
The authorities had previously imposed restrictions on the travel of children and elderly individuals aged 60 and above considering the challenging conditions caused by heavy snow in the area. Despite precautionary measures and continuous efforts to ensure the safety of pilgrims, the unpredictable nature of natural disasters serves as a reminder of the inherent risks associated with such journeys.