In the tragic Uttarakhand trekkers death case, the Devbhumi became valley of death with 12 trekkers reported dead so far. Uttarakhand is called Devbhumi or Land of Gods, due to the slew of Hindu temples and pilgrimage attractions that are spread across the state.

Ironically, the same land of Gods has been on the receiving end of tragic natural mishaps lately. The ongoing rains have led to 68 people dead so far in the state. The heavy rains also led to flash floods, landslides and loss of lives and property. Meanwhile, the SDRF (State Disaster Relief Forces) was reported to have saved 65 trekkers near multiple glacial points in the state.

Background

In early February 2021, the Himalayan state of Uttarakhand witnessed a tragedy after a glacier broke in the Ghauli Ganga valley in the Joshimath region of the state. After the incident, it took the disaster relief forces several days to find more bodies of the persons that lost their lives. While the official death toll is widely disputed, reportedly the number stood at 72.

Since then, several natural calamities involving flooding, land sliding have impacted the state on different magnitudes.


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The Facts of the Matter

Trekkers are adventurers who are not risk-averse. They take to the summits of some of the highest points of the world and make their mark there. However, at times, the wrath of the nature gets the best of them. Recently, the incessant rainfall in Uttarakhand led to the deaths of as many as 12 trekkers.

Uttarakhand DGP Ashok Kumar was quoted by ANI saying, “The bodies of seven trekkers have been recovered. Two have been rescued and two remain missing out of a group of 11 trekkers which had gone missing in Harsil. Five more bodies of trekkers from another group of 11 trekkers which went missing near Lamkhaga Pass have also been retrieved.”


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Tragedy Strikes, IAF Initiates Rescue Mission

Meanwhile, the rescue efforts are continuing after a cloudburst led to extreme rainfall this week. The state has reported as many as 68 persons dead due to the terrible tragedy. Currently, the Indian Air Force is involved in a massive rescue operation to find the remaining members of two different trekking groups in Harsil and Lamkhaga Pass.

For the unversed, the Lamkhaga Pass is one of the most challenging trekking passes that connects Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand. The IAF’s rescue operation began after several trekkers, which involved guides and tourists found themselves lost near the Lamkhaga Pass due to rainfall and snowfall.

Day 1 of Rescue Mission: Choppers Deployed with NDRF Personnel

On October 20th, the IAF swung into action after it received an emergency called made by the state authority. First the IAF deployed multiple choppers inbound Uttarakhand’s Harsil hill station. The choppers carried personnel from the NDRF (National Disaster Relief Forces) and took them to an altitude of 19,500 ft. However, the operation was called off as the personnel couldn’t find the rescue sites.


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Day 2 of Rescue Mission: Bodies Found, Survivor Rescued

On October 21, the choppers ferried personnel from the SDRF (State Disaster Relief Force) who were able to identify the sites. 4 bodies were found on the day at an altitude of about 15,700 ft. The same day, one of the choppers rescued another survivor at a much higher altitude of 16,800 ft.

Day 3 of Rescue Mission: 5 Bodies Found, Another Survivor Rescued

The third day of rescue kicked off on October 22 where the NDRF and SDRF personnel winched up another survivor along with the bodies of 5 other persons from an altitude of 16,600 ft.

Since then, 2 bodies were identified and bought back to the patrol site in Assam. The rescue operation is still underway for the missing persons and the IAF will be deploying the choppers on Saturday.