External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday expressed his condolences to the families of those who lost their lives in the tragic avalanche in Sikkim.
Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar said, “The news of deaths and injuries due to catastrophic avalanche in Sikkim is deeply distressing. Condolences to the bereaved families. Wish the injured a speedy recovery.”
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.
The deceased have been identified as Shiva Psd Lamichaney, Ashika Dhakal, Rebya Singh, Bal Singh, Sourav Roy Chaudhary, Pritam Matiy and Muna Shah Shrestra, officials said.
“Among the 7 deceased we have identified three as Nepal nationals, and two each were from Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The Bengal victims will be taken in an ambulance, 2 from Uttar Pradesh will be flown while those from Nepal will be taken by road for which the State Social Welfare department is looking into the logistics of taking mortal remains,” Gangtok District Collector 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.
The search and rescue operation was halted on Tuesday at 6:00 pm due to inclement weather, the DC notice stated.
Further, the search and rescue operation for the avalanche will again start at 8:00 hours on April 5, 2023, to account for missing tourists, the statement reads.