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Two Polish Skiers Killed, 19 Rescued After an Avalanche Hit Gulmarg Ski-Resort

Avalanche occurred in a spot called Hapartkhud above Gulmarg, group also included foreign nationals from Russia that were later rescued by the J&K Police

Rescue operation is underway after an avalanche hit ski slopes that left 2 persons dead, in Gulmarg, Wednesday, Feb. 1, 2023. (PTI Photo)

Srinagar: Two foreign nationals were killed and 19 others were rescued from an avalanche that hit a famous ski resort of Gulmarg in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district, officials said on Wednesday. 

According to Jammu and Kashmir police, the two deceased were identified as 43-year-old Krzysltof and 45-year-old Adam Grzech. Both were from Poland.

The avalanche occurred in a spot called Hapartkhud above Gulmarg meadow’s Kangdori area at about 12:30 pm. The group, which included two local guides, was skiing at the time of the calamity. 

The group also included foreign nationals from Russia that were later rescued by the J&K Police and tourism department after they were trapped in the avalanche. Several videos of the natural disaster were also circulated online on social media platforms triggering serious concerns over those caught in the aftermath.

After the police in Baramulla district received the information, joint rescue teams of police, Army and workers from the tourism department were mobilised that rushed to the spot and began a rescue operation. 

During the rescue operation, the remaining skiers and two local guides were rescued and immediately moved to safety. The police later identified them as Ekaterina, Maxim, Vladimir, Vasiliy, Engine, Leo, Nikita Mastryukov, Anna Chornyak, residents of Russia and Rafat Kaqmaren, Narcin Wieklux, Eukasz Potaczewck, Tukasz Pasek, Katarzyna Filip, Marcin Raczyk, Barteomie Szkop, Bartosz Domagata, Adrian Anirowsu, Macie Kowalczyk, residents of Poland, a foreign guide Bartos from Poland and two local guides namely Fayaz Ahmad Sheikh and Mushtaq Ahmad Mir from Tangmarg.

“The rescue teams also recovered the bodies and shifted them to a regional hospital for medico-legal formalities,” an official of the police department told the media. 

This is the third such incident of snow avalanche which has claimed lives since last month in the upper reaches of the region. On January 29, a 25-year-old woman Bilquis Bano and 14-year-old Kulsum Bi were killed in an avalanche after they were walking near Tangole village on the Kargil-Zanaskar highway.

Earlier, on January 12, two non-local labourers were killed in an avalanche that hit another tourist destination Sonamarg in the central district of Ganderbal close to a tunnel site. The officials later suspended the work on key Zojilla tunnels and moved hundreds of workers towards safety as panic spread in the area. 

The authorities have issued multiple avalanche warnings since last month in view of the snowfall in the mountainous areas. The Jammu and Kashmir Disaster Management issued one such warning on Monday in areas above 2,500 metres in Bandipore, Baramulla, Kupwara and Ramban advising people to restrict movement and also evacuate from “unprotected settlements” near the avalanche path.

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