SRINAGAR: At least 16 bodies were recovered from the lower Amarnath cave where a cloudburst incident took place on Friday evening while the authorities said that only seven bodies have been identified so far.

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Quoting officials the news agency KNO reported that several people are still missing while the rescue operation is going on to track them.

The officials said that 56 persons have suffered injuries in the incident and 40 among them have received minor injuries and 16 have been airlifted to SKIMS hospital for specialized treatment.

The rescue operations are ongoing by the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), SDRF, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP), CRPF, BSF, Army and J&K Police. At least six teams have been set to launch the massive rescue operation at the spot, officials said.

The Amarnath yatra was suspended by the authorities last evening.

Earlier, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) informed that about 15,000 people were safely shifted till now after the cloudburst incident near the holy shrine of Amarnath on Friday.

“Most of the yatris who were stranded near Holy cave area due to flash flood last evening have been shifted to Panjtarni. ITBP had expanded its Route opening and protection parties from Lower Holy cave to Panjtarni. The evacuation continued till 3.38 AM. No yatri is left on the track. About 15,000 people were safely shifted till now,” they said.

Besides, BSF’s MI-17 chopper was pressed into service to air transport the injured persons and dead bodies as well from Neelgrah helipad, Baltal to BSF Camp Srinagar for further treatment or further ferrying bodies to their homes.

Furthermore, the Indian Air Force has deployed 2 each ALH Dhruv and Mi-17 V5 helicopters from Srinagar for the rescue operations in the Amarnath cave site. One AN-32 and Ilyushin-76 transport aircraft are on stand-by in Chandigarh for further requirements, IAF officials said.

Meanwhile, the administration had set up a helpline for the Amarnath Yatra. “Helpline numbers for Amarnath Yatra: NDRF: 011-23438252 011-23438253; Kashmir Divisional Helpline: 0194-2496240; Shrine Board Helpline: 0194-2313149,” the public relations department of the government and the SASB tweeted from their respective handles.

Director General Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) (CRPF), Kuldiep Singh said that the yatra may resume within a day or two.

He said that the critically injured people were airlifted to Srinagar. “Two people who were buried but were alive were rescued. We are taking all precautionary steps,” he said, adding that 41 persons were missing as per J&K police out of which some were rescued.

The Shrine board officials while talking to the reporters said that 35 pilgrims have been discharged following the treatment while 17 are undergoing treatment and are likely to be discharged tonight. “All are safe and healthy,” they said.

Moreover, Inspector General of Police (IGP), Kashmir Zone, Vijay Kumar, said that efforts are on to clear the debris and senior formations are personally monitoring the rescue operations.


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