An Indian Army team rescued 73 civilians trapped under an avalanche in Ladakh on Tuesday in which two people died under mounds of snow, including a tourist from Bangalore, an official said in New Delhi on Thursday.
An army spokesperson said 75 civilians and many vehicles were trapped under the avalanche Tuesday when a landslide struck near Changla top, the third highest pass in the world at 17,350 ft height.
Some 60 vehicles had gone to Pangong Lake in Ladakh and on the return trip, one of the vehicles developed a snag. The drivers of the other vehicles came out to help and were reportedly pushing it when the avalanche hit them. About 12 vehicles were caught in the avalanche.
"Fighting strong winds and snow storm and blizzard-like conditions", 73 of the trapped civilians were rescued safely by the 3 Infantry Division, the official said.
But Mohammed Latif, the district social welfare officer, Leh, and A. Balakrishnan from Bangalore were killed. They were among the six people found buried under deep snow.
Latif died while being evacuated to hospital, and the rescue team found Balakrishnan's body near the avalanche site.
Balakrishnan was travelling with his wife, who was also among those trapped and was transferred to an army hospital from where she was released later and sent home.
The army has flown Balakrishnan's body to Bangalore.