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IndiaRussian skier dead in Gulmarg Avalanche, 7 rescued

Russian skier dead in Gulmarg Avalanche, 7 rescued


Srinagar, Feb 22: A Russian skier died while seven others, including a local guide, were rescued as an avalanche struck the ski slopes of Gulmarg on Thursday, officials said.

The avalanche struck the Khilan Marg on Afarwat Peak near the Army Ridge at around 2 pm, trapping several skiers under its debris, the officials said.

According to police, the group of seven Russians and a local guide ventured into a non-ski zone in the Army Ridge area, which is avalanche prone.

“There was an avalanche warning but they still ventured into that zone and unfortunately one skier died,” Gulmarg police station SHO Haroon Kar said.

As the news of the avalanche broke, a joint effort was initiated by the Gulmarg Ski Patrol of the Department, police and the Army to rescue the trapped skiers.

The deceased was identified as Hanten from Moscow in Russia and his body has been taken to the Tangmarg sub-district hospital for post-mortem, the police officer said.

The rescued persons were treated at a local hospital and one foreigner was being shifted to Srinagar for special treatment.

A government spokesperson said the ongoing 4th Khelo Winter Games remain unaffected by the incident.

Jammu and Kashmir Council secretary Nuzhat Gull said all athletes participating in the ongoing 4th Khelo India Winter Games in Gulmarg were safe.

“All Khelo India athletes are safe after the avalanche hit Khilanmarg area of Gulmarg… All the fixtures are being run as per schedule,” Gull posted on X.

The Winter Games began on Wednesday and will conclude on Sunday.

A spokesman of the Sports Council said all precautionary measures were in place to ensure safety of the players.

Conference leader Omar Abdullah, who was skiing in Gulmarg till Wednesday, prayed for the safety of the skiers.

“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 & the visuals spectacular, skiing is not without its dangers & risk to lives. Praying that all the missing skiers are found alive & the reports of a casualty end up being unfounded,” Abdullah said in a post on X.

The last avalanche in Gulmarg was in February last year, when two Polish skiers were killed and over a dozen were rescued.

Avalanches are very common in Gulmarg. In 2010, at least 17 soldiers were killed after an avalanche hit the Army's High Altitude Warfare School.

The Northlines is an independent source on the Web for news, facts and figures relating to Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh and its neighbourhood.

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