Total 1,551stranded passengers airlifted in 'Kargil courier' by IAF between J&K and Ladakh

26 February,2024 04:04 PM IST |  Jammu  |  mid-day online correspondent

The operation was launched following closure of the 434-km Srinagar-Leh national highway due to the heavy snowfall in the region

Snowfall in Kashmir. File Pic/PTI

The Indian Air Force (IAF) airlifted as many as 260 stranded passengers between the twin union territories of Jammu and Kashmir, and Ladakh on Monday. With this, a total of 1,551 passengers were airlifted so far in AN-32 aircraft, also known as Kargil courier, since the launch of the service on January 22, reported news wire PTI.

The operation was launched following closure of the 434-km Srinagar-Leh national highway due to the heavy snowfall in the region. The Kargil courier service operates three days a week between Jammu and Srinagar, and twice a week between Srinagar and Kargil to facilitate the stranded passengers.

"A total of 260 passengers were airlifted in Kargil courier on Monday. While 113 passengers were airlifted from Srinagar to Kargil and another 93 from Jammu to Kargil, 38 were airlifted from Kargil to Srinagar and 16 others from Kargil to Jammu in two separate aircrafts", PTI reported quoting an official.

Heavy snowfall has been reported from Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Shopian, Gurez, Machil and other hilly areas of the valley, this month. The Jammu region had also been lashed by rain, forcing closure of Srinagar-Jammu national highway due to mudslides at several places in Ramban District.

Following heavy rains, the only surface link connecting Kashmir valley with the rest of the world - Srinagar Jammu Highway was closed due to landslides and shooting stones between the Nashri and Banihal section.

An avalanche was also triggered at ski resort in Gulmarg, Jammu and Kashmir on early morning of February 22, after the heavy snowfall in the region since February 17. On February 21, a medium danger level avalanche warning was issued for Baramulla district in Jammu and Kashmir.

"According to media reports, on February 22, 2024, approx at 2 pm, 7 Russian' nationals came under an avalanche at the ski resort in Gulmarg, J & K. One skier died, six others were rescued as a result of the joint operation of Indian Armed Forced & regional administration," the Russian embassy in India posted on its X handle.

The avalanche struck the Khilan Marg on Afarwat Peak near the Army Ridge at around 2 pm, trapping several skiers under its debris.

(With PTI inputs)

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