HindustanTimes Sun,21 Sep 2014

Swiss tourist killed in avalanche at Kashmir resort

HT Correspondent , Hindustan Times  Srinagar, January 24, 2014
First Published: 16:16 IST(24/1/2014) | Last Updated: 19:01 IST(24/1/2014)

A Swiss tourist was killed and two of his countrymen were injured in an avalanche that hit Jammu and Kashmir’s Gulmarg ski resort on Friday afternoon.

The police identified the deceased as Arno Roy, 59. The injured were rescued.

The avalanche hit the tourist resort, 53 km off Srinagar, between Kongdoori and Afferwath when a group of six skiers from Switzerland was enjoying the sport on the slopes.

Roy was among three tourists who were trapped in the snow. Rescuers found his body. The others escaped with minor bruises, the police said.

“The three people were skiing in the upper reaches of Gulmarg when the avalanche hit the area. All three were trapped, while two were rescued, Roy died before the rescue team could reach,” said Ghulam Mohammad Khawaja, district commissioner, Baramulla.

Kashmir Valley, including Gulmarg, experienced heavy snowfall earlier this week.

The MeT department had issued an avalanche warning two days ago for all mountainous areas of the state.

On Wednesday, the police had evacuated 20 families from avalanche-prone areas in various parts of the valley

Gulmarg in north Kashmir is rated among the top ski resorts in the world. A recent CNN poll placed among the top 20 globally.

The resort peaks at an altitude of more than 13,000 ft and has one of the longest and highest ski slopes in Asia.

After the decline of militancy in the state, Gulmarg has become one of the favourite ski destinations for the sport’s aficionados.

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