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Friday, Aug 16, 2019

From the archives of the Hindustan Times: August 7

chronicles Updated: Aug 07, 2019 18:40 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
         

Indus ‘tamed’ by rubber boat (1975)

Srinagar- The five-member Indo-German boat expedition today (August 6) successfully navigated the 240 kms of the turbulent Indus flowing through Ladakh at a height of 3,350 metres- the first such feat ever undertaken and accomplished.

The expedition led by Col. N. Kumar took five days to reach the “landing point” of Khalsi at 12.30 p.m. after a gruelling experience in their rubber canoe which at one time overturned and threw all of them at the mercy of icy waters and whirlpools.

The members earlier covered the last lap of their journey of 25 kms from Suspol in four and half hours.

The Deputy Commissioner of Ladakh, Mr Mahmood-ur-Rehman, told PTI over phone from Leh that the members were accorded a rousing welcome by the people and officials when they landed.

Khalsi-98 km west of Leh and 240 km from the “take-off point’ at Chumathang could not be reached by the expedition yesterday as planned following the illness of the German member, Dr Jaroslav Poncar.

Dr Poncar felt better this morning and the journey was resumed.

The expedition, including three Indians and two West Germans.

Mr Rehman said the journey today was “very difficult” because of the depth of the river at several places and the frequent filling of the boat by on-rushing waters which required to be manually emptied.

The expedition members braved boulders, rapids, narrow gorges and steep gradients before accomplishing their mission half a day behind schedule.

The members faced the biggest test of their grit and endurance when their rubber boat, christened “the Dolma”, overturned on the third day throwing all into the icy waters after it had struck a rock and got punctured.

400 dead as launch capsizes (1988)

Hindustantimes

Katihar- Over 400 people were feared drowned when an overloaded private steamer capsized in the swollen Ganga soon after it left the Manihari Ghat on its way to Sahebganj, about 20 km from here.

The disaster occurred when the vintage steamer belonging to Mr Bachcha Singh lost its balance and turned upside down. There were about 600 persons on board the steamer when the mishap, the worst of its kind in the State, took place.

About 150 people, who were on the upper deck, could swim to safety by catching hold of floating material. So far, only seven bodies have been recovered.

The completely sunk steamer is still under water and the authorities are unable to organise any relief measure worth the name.

Cloudburst calamity kills 114, flattens Leh (2010)

Hindustantimes

Srinagar- At least 114 people were killed and 340 others injured on Friday (August 6) when cloudbursts triggering torrential rain, leading to flash floods and mud slides, struck Leh town in Ladakh and its surroundings, 425 km east of Srinagar.

Kuldeep Khoda, state police chief, told HT the death toll could rise further, as more than

250 people, mostly Bihari labourers, were still missing.

“The rains started on Thursday evening, and by 1.30 am, everything was finished,” said Sahil Ahmad, a driver from Srinagar who was stranded in the area since the Srinagar-

Leh Highway had closed.

The floods in this hill town, at a height of 11,500 feet above sea level, washed away hundreds of houses and left thousands homeless, snapped electric cables, damaged or washed away telecom towers and pylons, destroying the BSNL network and leaving the area in complete darkness.

The district hospital and two buildings, housing the offices of the Union Home Ministry, were submerged.

Leh airport’s runway was covered with six inches of slush. But it was made operational by the afternoon enabling aircraft carrying CM Omar Abdullah — who rushed to the spot — and relief materials to land.

Although five villages in a four to five km radius of Old Leh were damaged, it was Leh town that bore the brunt of the mudslides.

First Published: Aug 07, 2019 15:12 IST

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