A total of 172 stranded workers were rescued and brought to a safe area in an army avalanche rescue operation at Sarbal in Sonmarg area of Jammu and Kashmir’s Ganderbal district, the Army said on Sunday.
“At around 5.40 p.m. on January 14, an avalanche struck the workshop area of Megha Engineering and Industry Ltd, the company involved in ongoing constructionA of the Zozila tunnel near village Sarbal, Sonamarg,” an army official said.
Another large avalanche two days earlier, on January 12, in close proximity had claimed the lives of two MEIL workers.
“The 2nd avalanche on 14 January 2023 was so strong that the workshop area with 172 workers was completely cut off from the main location of MEIL. The Project Manager of MEIL approached the Indian Army for assistance to rescue the stranded workers.
“On getting the distress call a rescue team was immediately mobilised from Army Camp Gund that negotiated the snow-covered route and reached the site the same night, providing the much-needed reassurance to the stranded workers and MEIL authorities.”
The Army said due to inclement weather, the rescue operation was planned for next morning.
“On January 15, a rescue operation was launched under Commandant, Assam Rifles Battalion at Wusan employing avalanche rescue teams with specialist equipment, army dogs and medical gear,” army said.
“After deliberate efforts the team was able to rescue all the 172 workers stranded in the avalanche to safety. Immediate medical assistance was administered to the injured by the Medical Officer of Wusan Assam Rifles Battalion at the site,” the official said.