On Tuesday afternoon, a massive avalanche struck Sikkim’s Nathula border region, resulting in at least six tourist deaths and injuring 12 others. According to reports, numerous visitors are still stuck behind the massive snowdrift.
Unofficial sources state that roughly 350 visitors are still trapped in the region, as the area was blocked off. Thus far, it is reported that 80 automobiles have been saved. The avalanche struck the 14th Jawaharlal Nehru Road, which links Gangtok with Nathula Pass, according to Border Roads Organization (BRO). Following the avalanche, at least two dozen persons are reported to have been buried under the snow.
Fortunately, 22 individuals have been rescued out of the 25 to 30 tourists who were stranded, according to a BRO statement. However, indications suggest that further casualties are expected as the tourists who were presumed to be stranded under the snow are being rescued.
— Press Trust of India (@PTI_News) April 4, 2023
According to some local sources, there were more than 100 visitors in the area when the avalanche hit. The incident occurred at approximately 12:20 PM, while tourists were travelling on the Jawaharlal Nehru Marg. Social media platforms were flooded with videos of the avalanche and stranded stories.
Nathula Pass, with its stunning settings and prominent location near the Chinese border, attracts thousands of travellers every year. However, the region is prone to avalanches and landslides during the winter months.
Rescue teams, including BRO personnel and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police, have been working diligently to rescue any remaining tourists and clear the debris. The Indian Army has also been called in to aid with the rescue efforts. The government has assured that all necessary assistance will be provided to the affected tourists and their families.
The tragic event serves as a reminder of the dangers posed by natural disasters, particularly in regions like Sikkim that are vulnerable to them. It is crucial for travellers to take precautions and follow safety protocols while visiting such areas.