Kullu: 70 hours after they go missing, all trekkers safe, 6 evacuated

Shimla: Eight trekkers, who had gone missing in bad weather in the higher reaches of Himachal Pradesh's Kullu district, have been traced and six of them rescued by ITBP troopers, nearly 70 hours after their disappearance, officials said today.

Battling inclement weather, ITBP teams flew low in helicopters and spotted six stranded trekkers near Chanderkheni pass at an altitude of 12,000 feet and evacuated them to safety, Hans Raj, Deputy Commissioner, Kullu, said.

Two others located later will be airlifted tomorrow, he said. As bad weather forced the rescue team to call off the operation, official sources said the remaining two trekkers
will be evacuated tomorrow morning. Sufficient food and clothes have been airdropped for them, they said.

Seven students of Institute of Engineering and Technology (SLIET), Longowal, in Punjab, and a former student of the same institute had left Nagger on Thursday on a trekking trip and had gone missing about 70 hours ago.

Earlier in the day, five ITBP teams, comprising 50 personnel with special equipment were launched from three directions towards Chanderkheni pass despite turbulent weather conditions.

Four rescue teams constituted by Kullu district administration were also combing the area in the vicinity of Chandrakheni Pass. However, they were unable to locate the trekkers as their footprints on snow disappeared due to fresh snowfall.

Earlier aerial surveys had failed to locate them. A team from the engineering college is already in Manali to receive the students.

The missing students were identified as Hitendra Sharma from Theog, Chetan Chori and Saurav Sharma from Ambala, Ankush Kumar from Gurdaspur, Rohit Kumar from Bhagpat district in Uttar Pradesh, Anil Kumar from Hamirpur, Akshay Kumar Bura from Chamba and Bharat Prakash from Kullu district.

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