Death toll in holy cave tragedy mounts to 16, 40 still missing; 15,000 pilgrims evacuated

JAMMU, July 9: The death toll in the yesterday’s flash flood triggered by heavy rain near Shri Amarnath Ji cave shrine rose to 16 today as the search operations continued without a break amid fears that many are still trapped under the debris.
Officials said 15,000 stranded pilgrims were shifted to the lower base camp of Panchtarni and 28 injured people were rushed to hospitals after the flash flood and landslides rummaged through tents and community kitchens yesterday near the holy cave.According to a senior Army officer, mountain rescue teams and lookout patrols with high-tech equipment and sniffer dogs have been deployed for the search and rescue operation.
“Air rescue operations started this morning and six pilgrims were evacuated by Army helicopters. The military medical teams are receiving patients and casualties at the Nilgrah helipad for onward evacuation,” Senior Army Officer, Sachin Sharma said.
He said 28 injured were brought to Army Hospital and they were given treatment there. He said those with serious injuries were shifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment. He said Indian Army, NDRF,SDRF, BSF, CRPF and local police have launched rescue operations and they are working in full coordination in evacuating trapped yatris to safer places and rescuing people from the debris.

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