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Sikkim: 6 tourists dead, several trapped in a avalanche hits Nathula

The avalanche struck Nathula border area in Sikkim, an official informed.

GANGTOK-  At least 6 tourists have been killed while several others are feared trapped after a major avalanche hit northeastern state Sikkim on Tuesday. The avalanche struck Nathula border area in Sikkim, an official informed.

According to an initial estimate, about 30 tourists were caught by the avalanche, as per the BRO.

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The avalanche hit the region when several tourists were present near the snow-covered hill side of Jawaharlal Nehru Marg which connects Gangtok to the tourism spots of Tsomgo Lake and Nathula border.

More casualties are feared even though relief and rescue operations are going on a war-footing to extract the trapped tourists under the avalanche.

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The calamity took place near 17th Mile of Jawaharlal Nehru Marg at around 12.15 pm, about 25 km away from Gangtok.

Videos circulating in social media show some tourists being pulled out from the avalanche. Many tourists had been washed away down below the road into the gorge. Some could be seen lying unconscious on top of the snow below the road.

As per information available, rescue and relief operations are being undertaken by Sikkim Police, BRO, Army, government departments and tour operators. The figures of injuries and fatalities are not known immediately.

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Since past two-three weeks, the higher altitudes of Sikkim including Tsomgo Lake and Nathu La have received heavy snowfall. On many occasions, tourists returning from Tsomgo Lake and Nathu La had been stranded due to afternoon snowstorm blocking the road.

A BRO source informed that 17 tourists have been pulled out from the avalanche and shifted to Army hospitals nearby.

Meanwhile, about 350 tourists who were not in the avalanche zone are returning back to Gangtok after the BRO cleared the road towards the state capital.

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