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Helicopter operation rescues 66 more tourists stranded in Lahaul-Spiti
A helicopter conducted trips from Baring to Tandi helipad, near Keylong, on Sunday and the 66 remaining tourists stranded in Udaipur area of Lahaul-Spiti were evacuated. Earlier, 178 were rescued by weekend using ropeways and zipline across a surging river. Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur conducted an aerial survey. Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir was also hit by a cloudburst where seven people died, 17 rescued and 20 were missing.

MANALI, Aug 1: On Sunday a helicopter rescued the remaining 66 of the 244 tourists stranded following a cloudburst in Lahaul-Spiti district earlier last week. They were trapped in an area called Udaipur.

Earlier, 178 stranded tourists were rescued by weekend using ropeways and zipline across a river as its bridge had been washed away by the gushing waters and helicopter could not land till Saturday due to bad weather.

Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur conducted an aerial survey of the flood-affected region of Lahaul-Spiti district.

The helicopter was able to conduct trips from Baring to Tandi helipad in Keylong, district headquarters of Lahaul-Spiti, on Sunday morning, and the 66 remaining people stranded at different locations in Udaipur were evacuated.

The cloudburst had occurred over Tojing Nullah on Tuesday. The road between Keylong and Udaipur was blocked at several places due to landslides. Several roads and bridges were damaged due to the flood. Therefore the stranded tourists could not make it to safer places.

Meanwhile, the Indian Air Force (IAF) carried out rescue operation on Thursday in Kishtwar district of Jammu and Kashmir, also hit by a cloudburst. Over 20 people were missing. The cloudburst in Kishtwar occurred on Wednesday killing seven people while 17 others were rescued.

"Three IAF helicopters - one each from Jammu, Udhampur and Srinagar - were utilized for airlifting joint teams of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) and the State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) to Kishtwar," PTI quoted Jammu-based Army PRO Lt Col Devender Anand as saying.

On weekend, cloudburst was also reported near the Amarnath shrine in Kashmir.

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