Valiant Army Jawans Rescue 680 Stranded Tourists in Blizzard-hit Arunachal Pradesh
Despite low visibility and treacherous weather conditions, the team of army rescuers managed to help struggling drivers and rescued a one-and-a-half year old child and a 72-year-old woman, who were rushed to an army hospital in a critical condition.
Three Army teams worked relentlessly for more than seven hours in sub zero temperatures to rescue the stranded people at Sela Pass in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh on Monday. (Photo courtesy: EasternCommand_IA@easterncomd)
Itanagar: In a daring operation, Army jawans rescued 680 people who were stranded at Sela Pass in West Kameng district of Arunachal Pradesh due to unexpected blizzard conditions on Monday.
Heavy snowfall and blizzard struck areas along the Bomdilla-Dirang-Sela-Tawang road in Arunachal Pradesh, the only road artery to the strategic town of Tawang, bringing it to a standstill and leaving commuters facing travel disruption.
At least 300 vehicles were stuck on frozen roads in sub-zero temperatures.
Most of the vehicles were devoid of snow chains and had to be tugged out by the army troops as drivers found it hard to navigate in the blizzard. Hundreds of vehicles were stuck in the 5km stretch of snow on both sides of Sela Pass at an altitude of 13,000 feet.
At least 300 vehicles were stuck on frozen roads in sub-zero temperatures. (Photo courtesy: EasternCommand_IA@easterncomd)
Bhavesh Dutta, a tourist from Jessore Road in North Kolkata, said, "We were stuck in snow on our way to Tawang with no mobile network. It was really scary. All we could do was pray for safety, and suddenly some army jawans arrived and helped us through the blizzard."
Rescue operations began from 3:30 pm on Monday and continued till late in the night. Despite low visibility and treacherous weather conditions, the team of army rescuers managed to help struggling drivers and rescued a one-and-a-half year old child and a 72-year-old woman, who were rushed to an army hospital in a critical condition.
Another tourist, D Bose from Kolkata said, "I was stuck on the road for almost 10 hours. We were not expecting a blizzard. The wind was strong and it was pretty poor visibility at that time. Thankfully, the army came to our rescue."
The rescue effort lasted for almost seven hours. Army sources said the traffic has been cleared, but the road at various points remains covered in snow.
Weather warnings have been issued for tourists travelling to high-altitude areas of Arunachal in the wake of heavy snowfall and storm. Forecasters have predicted more snow and howling winds in areas around Sela.
Last year, the army had rescued 127 tourists stranded at Sela Pass.
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