BRO Engg killed, 9 missing in avalanches at Sadna Top

A view of fresh snowfall at Gulmarg on Friday. (UNI)
A view of fresh snowfall at Gulmarg on Friday. (UNI)

Fresh snowfall in hills of Kashmir

Fayaz Bukhari
SRINAGAR, Jan 5: A Border Roads Organization (BRO) Engineer was killed and at least nine persons are missing after avalanches struck North Kashmir’s Kupwara district today following fresh snowfall in the hills of Kashmir.
The hills of Kashmir had fresh snowfall since last night leading and around two feet of fresh snow had accumulated in Sadna Top area, leading to avalanches. Several avalanches hit the road near Shaitan Nallah in Sadna Top on Kupwara-Tanghdar road this afternoon sweeping away a Taxi, a Border Roads Organization (BRO) vehicle and two persons who were walking on the road.
Two beacon officials came under a snow avalanche near the Sadna Top this afternoon. They were standing near their vehicle when the avalanche struck and swept away both of them along with their vehicle. They were rescued and one of them, a Junior Engineer of 109 RC, MP Singh was declared brought dead at Army unit hospital in Chowkibal.
The road was slippery due to heavy snowfall during the night and there were few vehicles that were on their way to Tanghdar this afternoon. The drivers had stopped their vehicles near Shaitan Nallah to have a look at road ahead.
The driver of the sumo bearing registration Number JK09A- 3249, Zahoor Ahmad Khan son of Maqsood Ahmad Khan of Chetarkote Karnah, was also with other drivers having a look at the road and had parked vehicle when it was swept away by an avalanche.
SSP Kupwara, Shamsher Hussain, who was on the spot to monitor the rescue operation, told Excelsior that seven person including three women, one child and 3 men were inside the vehicle when it was swept away.
He said that two more persons who were on the road few dozen meters away were hit by another avalanche and they are also missing. An 11-year old boy, Abdul Wahid son of Naseer Ahmad Parray, resident of Suliman Tangdhar, who was with these two persons, was rescued immediately. He has been shifted to Srinagar for treatment.
The missing include Altaf Ahmad Check son of Mohammad Samander Check of Nopora Tanghdar, Shakeela Begam wife of Abdul Rehman Parray resident of Suliman Tanghdar, Master Abdul Rashid Joo son of Abdul Majeed Joo of Dildar Tanghdar, Fareed Hussain Shah son of Momim Ali Shah resident of Chamkote Tanghdar, Chapee Begam wife of Fareed Hussain Shah resident of Chamkote Tanghdar, Shafqat Begum wife of Maqbool Hussian Shah of Gunde Sajdan Tanghdar, Ghulam Hussain Shah son of Mir Ahmad Shah resident of Chamkote Tanghdar, Nadia Bano daughter of Bashir Ahmad Khawaja resident of Gunde Gujran Tanghdar, Ghulam Nabi Bhat son of Ali Mohammad Bhat resident of Kalmoona Kupwara and one year old child Amina Maqbool daughter of Maqbool Hussain Shah of Gunde Seydan.
The SSP said that the rescue teams have failed to locate the vehicle as it had fallen into a deep gorge. He said that 500 meters deep they, however, found a cell phone. He said that the operation has been called off for the night due to bad weather and subzero temperatures and will be resumed at first light tomorrow. He, however, said that the survival chances of the persons who are buried under avalanche are bleak. He said that all of them are residents of Karnah.
In the meantime, the tourist resorts of Gulmarg and Pahalgam received light snowfall during the night, even as the minimum temperature marked an improvement at most places in Kashmir Valley and Ladakh region.
An official of the MeT department said there is a possibility of light rains or snowfall at isolated places, especially in the higher reaches, in the State over the next 24 hours.
He said while the night temperature marked an improvement at most places across Kashmir division last night, the mercury in Gulmarg and Kokernag decreased from the previous night.
Gulmarg recorded a low of minus 9 degrees Celsius, three degrees colder from the previous night. The day temperature settled at 2.0 degree Celsius, 1.5 degrees above normal.
Kokernag town in South Kashmir registered a low of minus 3.4 degrees Celsius compared to minus 2.5 degrees Celsius on the previous night. The day temperature settled at 8.6 degree Celsius, 4.2 degrees above normal.
Srinagar recorded the minimum temperature of minus 3.2 degrees Celsius, a slight increase from minus 3.9 degrees Celsius yesterday. The day temperature was 9.5 degree Celsius, 3.4 degrees above normal.
The mercury in Qazigund in South Kashmir settled at a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius, up from the previous night’s minus 4.4 degrees Celsius. The day temperature settled at 9.6 degree Celsius, 3.6 degrees above normal.
Kupwara in North Kashmir recorded a low of minus 2 degrees Celsius. The day temperature was 6.2 degree Celsius, 0.1 degrees above normal.
The night temperature in Pahalgam recorded a low of minus 4 degrees Celsius, up from minus 4.5 degrees Celsius of the previous night. The day temperature was 6.2 degree Celsius, 2.3 degrees above normal.
Kargil town in Ladakh region of the State continued to shiver as the minimum temperature settled at minus 20 degrees Celsius same as the previous night.  The town was the coldest recorded place in the State. The day temperature settled at minus 5.7 degree Celsius.
Leh town recorded a minimum temperature of minus 10.3 degrees Celsius last night up from minus 14.2 degrees the previous night. The day temperature settled at 2.0 degree Celsius.
Kashmir is currently under the grip of Chillai-Kalan, a 40-day harshest period of winter when the chances of snowfall are most frequent and maximum and the temperature drops considerably.
It ends on January 31 next year, but the cold wave continues even after that in the valley.
The 40-day period is followed by a 20-day long Chillai- Khurd (small cold) and a 10-day long Chillai-Bachha (baby cold).