A teenage student was killed and two others injured when they were swept by an avalanche in Machhil area of Kupwara district Saturday morning. Today was the last day of ChilaiKalaan, the harshest 40-day period of winter that begins December 21 and ends January 30.
The avalanche hit ChuntiwariBalla area of Machil resulting in the on-spot death of 15-year-old Mehrajudin Khan (15) son of Bashir Ahmad of KatwaraMachil. Two other injured boys were immediately taken to Machhil hospital where from they were referred to Sub-district hospital Kupwara for specialized treatment. The injured were identified as Javid Ahmad Khan (14) of Khali Balla and Abdul Rashid Mir (14) of ChuntiwariBallaMachhil.
Officials said the incident occurred when the boys were on their way to a local Madrassa for studies. Authorities had issued an avalanche warning for the area.
An Army spokesman said the force immediately launched a rescue operation. “Undeterred by the raging blizzard, 15-20 feet of standing snow and further avalanche warnings, the Army s Avalanche Rescue Team was immediately launched for the rescue. Equipped with rescue equipment including avalanche victim detector with the help of which contact with the boys was established quickly,” he said.
He said the team found the boys, buried under 10 feet of snow, in a state of shock and physical exhaustion and administered critical first aid at the site itself.
“The rescue mission was able to successfully evacuate two boys. However, the third one unfortunately succumbed to his grievous injuries,” he added.
The authorities Saturday issued fresh avalanche warning for four districts of Kashmir division, including Ladakh, as more snow and rain are forecast in these areas.
“According to Divisional Commissioner (Kashmir) AsgharSamoon, medium danger avalanche warning exists for snowbound areas in four districts of Kashmir division including Ladakh region,” an official spokesman said.
He said the areas for which avalanche warning has been issued include Chowkibal-Tangdhar, Taya, Ragini, Puttakhan, Zunegund, Malai, Pharkiyan, Keran Sector, Razdhan pass in Bandipora, Gulmarg, Neeru, Burab, Chakwali, Naugaon, Kaiyan, Radha TMG, Padam, Zebra, Patlala, Z-Gali, Macchil, Dhudi, Tsuntwarl, Drass Sector and Kargil Sector in Kashmir Division.
“People are advised not to venture in steep avalanche prone slopes during next 24 hours from January 30 to January 31,” he said.
People are also advised to keep cleaning the snow from roof tops of their houses to avoid any casualty due to roof collapse.
HIGHER REACHES RECEIVE FRESH SNOWFALL:
On Saturday higher reaches of Kashmir received fresh snowfall while as plains received intermittent rains even as Meteorological Department has predicted improvement in weather from Sunday.
MeT officials said that ski-resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir received fresh snowfall. They said that the resort recorded around nine inches of fresh snow. “The minimum temperature at Gulmarg went down over three notches from the previous night’s low of minus 3.2 degrees Celsius to settle at minus 6.5 degrees Celsius,” they said.
Fresh snowfall was also recorded in Machil, Sadhna Pass, Gurez and some other higher reaches. “Most of the plains of Kashmir received intermittent rains overnight with the north Kashmir town of Kupwara recording rainfall of 12.3 mm,” they said.
“The weather will improve from tomorrow. We expect dry weather for more than a week,” they said.
Srinagar witnessed decrease in temperatures by over a degree from the previous night’s 3.1 degrees Celsius to settle at a low of 1.8 degree Celsius. The city recorded 4.2 mm of rainfall during the night.
Pahalgam in south Kashmir recorded a low of 0.3 degree Celsius from the previous night’s 1.3 degrees Celsius while as the resort recorded 8 mm of rainfall.