Six pilgrims were evacuated by Army’s helicopters on Saturday as rescue operations continued through the night near the holy cave shrine of Amarnath after a flash flood triggered by a cloudburst swept away scores of people, killing at least 13, officials said.
The cloudburst that occurred around 5.30 pm on Friday dumped copious rain and thick streams of sludge rolled down the mountain slopes into the valley. The gushing waters hit the base camp outside the shrine in south Kashmir, damaging 25 tents and three community kitchens where the pilgrims are served food, according to officials.
“Air rescue operations were started this morning as six pilgrims were evacuated. The military medical teams are receiving patients and casualties at the Nilagrar helipad for onward evacuation,” an official said on Saturday.
The Army official said mountain rescue teams and lookout patrols were on the job to search for the missing people.
On Friday, an official on the ground said about 40 people were missing while five had been rescued.
The Union Territory administration and the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) gave out four telephone numbers to help the families of those who might have been affected due to the cloudburst.
An official of the administration said the Amarnath Yatra, which began on June 30, has been suspended following the tragedy and a decision on its resumption will be taken after rescue operations get over.