IAF deploys chopper to rescue Himachal trekker

Shimla, Aug 16 (IANS) The IAF on Sunday deployed two helicopters to rescue a Himachal Pradesh trekker who is injured and stuck in the Kishtwar hills of Jammu and Kashmir’s Kargil district for the past four days.

“One chopper was deployed for the rescue operation but failed to cross the Umasi Pass as it was too foggy at the top of the pass,” Rakesh Kanwar, the deputy commissioner of Himachal’s Kullu district, told IANS.

He said he received the communication from his counterpart in Kargil.

The second trekker, Rijul Gill, 30, who was not injured, reached Zanskar at the base of the Umasi Pass in Kargil after more than one and a half days of trekking.

Gill is at an Indian Army camp. He left behind Arun Sharma, 25, with the assurance that he would arrange help for him.

In a message on Whatsapp, Gill said: “The weather was bad on the top of the pass and it was snowing and so we had to return. Another rescue is scheduled and waiting for the weather to clear.”

Sub-divisional magistrate Tondup Namgyal, who is posted in Zanskar, told IANS over the phone that it was very challenging to locate the trekker without the choppers as most of the area was devoid of human activity.

Even if the area was to be trekked, it would take more 12 hours from the Zanskar side.

According to him, the trekking route from Kishtwar side was treacherous and would require two days at least. “Rescue through chopper is the only option,” he added.

Both the trekkers are from Himachal Pradesh and left for Umasi Pass on August 9 from Killar in Chamba district.

An alarming message on Whatsapp about a trekker being stranded on Saturday led the deputy commissioner of Kullu to organise his rescue.

Since then he has been in regular touch with the deputy commissioner in Kargil and the second trekker.

“His chances of survival seems more as his friend is claiming that he has left sufficient ration for him, and he has a tent and a sleeping bag but can’t move on his own,” Kanwar said.

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