16 dead in flash floods at occupied Kashmir pilgrimage site

SRINAGAR: Sixteen pilgrims were killed in Friday’s flash floods set off by sudden rain at the icy Himalayan cave shrine of Amarnath and rescuers feared that the death count could go up as about 40 “missing” people were still unaccounted for till Saturday evening—some trapped under tonnes of mud and rocks.

Rescuers from disaster management teams, police, local volunteers and military units toiled night and day, removing debris and looking for signs of life. Two pilgrims were pulled out alive and airlifted to Srinagar, 92km away, for treatment.

NDRF director general Atul Karwal said: “There are 16 confirmed deaths. About 40 are missing. No fresh landslide has occurred, but it’s raining. The rain has not hampered our rescue efforts. Four NDRF teams with over 100 rescuers are on the job. Army, BSF, SDRF, CRPF and others are also engaged in the operation.”