IIT students 'gone missing' rescued in Himachal Pradesh

IIT students 'gone missing' rescued in Himachal Pradesh

A view of a snow-covered hill at Keylong in Lahaul-Spiti district. (PTI photo)

Thirty-five students from the prestigious IIT-Roorkie in Uttrakhand, who had gone missing in snow-clad areas of Lahaul and Spiti in Himachal Pradesh, were finally located on Tuesday.

"The IIT-Roorkee students and other stranded trekkers are safe in the Sissu area of Lahul-Spiti," Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Tuesday.

Two German nationals were also rescued to safety by the air force from Pingdom La in Lahaul-Spiti district on Tuesday. They were caught in a snowstorm. The air force launched an operation to rescue the two of them on Tuesday morning. They were saved in an hour.

Snowfall in many parts of Lahaul-Spiti and other upper Himalayan regions has continued for the last three days.

Contact with the IIT students was not been established till Tuesday.

The students had gone for a trek to Hampta pass in Lahaul-Spiti and were scheduled to return to Manali.

But they got stuck in heavy snow and contact with the outside world became difficult, with communication lines snapping and the internet crashing due to incremental weather. Choppers may be deployed to evacuate the students and others.

Tourist hotspot Rohtang Pass, which is a 30-km steep hill drive from Manali, had received nearly three feet of snowfall till Monday.

At least 10 people have died in the last three days in Himachal Pradesh and Punjab.

Tuesday brought some relief with rainfall dipping considerably. All major rivers, including the Beas and the Ravi, are in spate.

The Mandi-Manali highway remains shut due to the overflowing rivers. Hundreds of roads have been damaged in Himachal.

A large amount of water was released from the Pong dam in Himachal on Tuesday. This has caused the water in the Beas river to swell up even further. All adventurous sporting activities, including paragliding, have been banned in Kullu district.

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