Well-trained divers and experts from the army of the rescue operation on Monday failed to fish out the youth, who among four others skid off along with their cars on Saturday night into gushing waters of river Lidder, emanating from the mountains of world famous Pahalgam in south Kashmir.
The torrential rains on Saturday evening after a hot sunny day triggered a dusty fog of two to three feet above ground level on the highway leading to the tourist destination. Weekends have many urban youth in Kashmir driving away from cities and towns to stay for a night or two at tourist destinations like Pahalgam, Gulmarg and Sonamarg.
"The rains create a mirage in the dark on the Srinagar-Pahalgam highway as one tends to follow the car light. The drivers mistook the fog and light as straight road and jetted into fast-flowing Lidder river. First it was a Ford Fiesta that lost control and slipped into the river followed by a Maruti car," sub-district police officer Farooq Ahmad told the Hindustan Times.
The tragic accident took place at Nunwam area in Pahalgam. This is first of its kind accident near Pahalgam. Third vehicle, a Santro, had a narrow escape when the driver applied brakes just on the edges of the road, though slipped on the steep slopes of the river. The two cars had flied 10-15 feet from the road into the river just within the time gap of 15 minutes.
"Two bodies have been retrieved and one is still missing," said Ahmad.
One person who was in the Maruti car had a dramatic escape when he got on the roof top and stayed there for the whole night at the middle of the gushing river. "He was rescued on Sunday," said the police officer.
The divers and the personnel of the army, Fire and Emergency Services and rafting experts have been called in to retrieve the body of Showkat Ahmad Aram, a resident of Ali Kadal.
"The water had washed away the bodies of two others up to five kilo metres," said the police officer.
The authorities had to call in a chopper on Sunday to rescue the person stuck on the rooftop. Russian-made special boats with multi-step ladder are also put into service to fish the body of the youth still missing in the water.
The victims whose bodies have been fished out have been identified as Yasir Farooq, a resident of Khankah Mohalla and Mudasir Ahmed Shah, a resident of Habak, Srinagar. Shujat Ahmad Lankar, a resident of Khankahi Moulla, was rescued after 12 hours. "Lankar has been discharged from a Srinagarhospital," said a police officer. All the victims were on the way to Pahalgam, around 100 km south of Srinagar, to enjoy the weekend.