SRINAGAR: One foreigner died and five other rescued while another is still missing after an avalanche struck Gulmarg, destination in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, officials said here

The avalanche struck the Kongdoori slopes, trapping several skiers. The foreigners had gone to the ski slopes without local residents, they said.

Army and a patrolling team of the Jammu and Kashmir administration are carrying out rescue-cum-search operations, officials added.

Meanwhile, an eye witness said that the authorities at Gulmarg Gondola, Asia’s highest cable car project, have made it mandatory for local ski guides to purchase tickets, forcing us to forgo accompanying skiers due to financial constraints. While local guides are essential for the safety of skiers, the administration should reconsider this policy to prevent such incidents in the future, he said.

Secretary Sports Council Nuzhat Gul said that all Khelo India athletes are safe after the avalanche hits Khilanmarg area of Gulmarg, J&K. All the fixtures are being run as per schedule, he added.

shortly after the incident, the former chief minster, Omar Abdullah who is also in Gulmarg said in a post on ‘X’ ”While the details are still sketchy some skiers are reportedly missing after an avalanche was triggered in the area around Gulmarg. It appears the skiers were skiing off the piste or groomed slopes in the ‘back country’. Days like today remind us that while the skiing is fun, the fresh powder exhilarating and the visuals spectacular, skiing is not without its dangers and risk to lives. Praying that all the missing skiers are found alive and the reports of a casualty end up being unfounded”

Another avalanche, on Wednesday, struck a hung area of Sonamarg on the Srinagar-Leh Road, blocking the flow of water in the Sindh stream.

Kashmir has been witnessing moderate to heavy snowfall over the past three days, increasing the possibility of avalanches in hilly and mountainous areas of the valley.

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