Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday expressed his anguish over the tragic avalanche in Sikkim, saying that he was “deeply distressed” by the mishap.
Taking to Facebook, the Congress leader said, “Deeply distressed by the news of the massive avalanche in Sikkim’s Nathu La that has trapped several tourists. My thoughts are with the victims of this terrible tragedy and their families. Wishing all the best to the teams involved in the rescue mission.”
Earlier in the day, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said that the government is closely monitoring the situation in Sikkim.
Shah took to Twitter to condole the loss of lives and assured that the teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) will reach the affected area soon.
The Minister also prayed for the speedy recovery of those injured in the incident.
“My sincerest condolences to the families of those who have lost their lives in the tragic avalanche in Sikkim. We are closely monitoring the situation and the teams of NDRF will reach the affected area soon. I pray for the speedy recovery of those injured,” Shah said in a tweet.
At least seven tourists were killed and many are feared trapped after an avalanche struck the Gangtok-Nathu La road in Sikkim on Tuesday afternoon, the Army said.
An estimated 20-30 tourists were feared to be trapped under the snow along with five-six vehicles, the Army added.
“By 3 pm, 14 persons were rescued and taken to a nearby Army medical facility. However, seven persons succumbed. The other seven persons were administered first aid and returned to Gangtok, the Army said in a statement.
Approximately 5-6 vehicles along with 20-30 tourists on way to Natu La are feared to have been stuck under the snow, the army said.
Besides, a total of 350 stranded tourists and 80 vehicles have also been rescued after snow clearance from the road.
Earlier in the day, at about 11.30 am, a massive avalanche hit the 15th Mile on Jawaharlal Nehru road connecting Gangtok with Nathu La.
Meanwhile, the road has been opened for traffic by Border Roads Organisation. A search and rescue mission for the remaining persons is underway by the Army, State Disaster Management Team and police.