Authorities rescued on Sunday six of the eight trekkers who had gone missing four days ago amid bad weather in the snow-clad mountains of Himachal Pradesh’s Kullu district. The two others are safe inside a cave, officials said.
An aerial recce by the local administration near the 12,000-foot-high Chandarkhani Pass located the seven engineering students and their instructor, following which six of them were airlifted.
“We lost our shoes while walking in the snow. We took shelter in a cave to save our lives,” said rescued trekker Chetan Chori. “Yesterday (on Saturday) we heard the sound of a helicopter and realised that efforts were on to rescue us,”
The district’s deputy commissioner, Hans Raj Chauhan, said the other two trekkers will also be pulled out once the skies clear while rescuers dropped packets of food and medicines for them.
Once weather gets clear,other 2 will also be airlifted.All 8 trekkers safe- Hans Raj Chauhan,Kullu Depy Commissioner pic.twitter.com/8oCe3i7lWn— ANI (@ANI_news) March 13, 2016
The group lost contact with police on Friday afternoon after which relatives of one of the missing men sought help from the district administration.
“Hitender spoke to me on March 7 and told me about some trekking plan with his friends,” said Nandlal Verma, the father of one of the students. “All we could do was pray to God about their safety.”
Authorities deployed three teams of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police after members of a local mountaineering institute and police failed to rescue the trekkers amid inclement weather.
“I will ask the government to regulate trekking activities in the area as every year several trekkers lose their life,” said area MLA Maheshwar Singh.
Two paths lead to the pass: One from the Naggar settlement via the Rumsu village and the other from the ancient Malana village.
Seven of the trekkers are final year BTech students of Punjab’s Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET) while the instructor is a former student of the same institute.
They have been identified as Hitendra Sharma from Himachal Pradesh’s Theog town, Chetan Chori and Saurav Sharma from Punjab’s Ambala district, Ankush Kumar from Punjab’s Gurdaspur district, Rohit Kumar from Bagpat district in Uttar Pradesh, Anil Kumar from Hamirpur district in the same state, Akshay Kumar Bura from Himachal Pradesh’s Chamba district and Bharat Prakash from Kullu district.