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15 pilgrims killed in cloudburst in Amarnath; 40 missing; Army called out

JAMMU, July 8: Fifteen pilgrims died in a cloudburst in Amarnath on Friday evening. Forty others are missing. Only five yatris have been rescued so far till late evening. Flash flood gushed down from either side of the Amarnath cave, washing away all the tents, community kitchens and other facilities on the track. The mishap occurred at 5:30 pm.

The yatra has been suspended till further notice.

(What is a cloudburst: A cloudburst is a sudden, heavy downpour lasting a short time over a small space leading to flash floods and landslides. This happens when there are formations of thick layers of clouds in high ranges because of mountains.)

Army helicopters are airlifting the injured to hospitals. Ten army teams with army dogs are at the spot in Lower Amarnath carrying out rescue operatiions. The NDRF, SDRF and the police have also joined the search. Due to difficult terrain conditions rescue efforts may be suspended later in the night.

The annual pilgrimage began on June 30 after a 2-year gap due to covid. (SEE: Amarnath yatra begins; security tightened as terror looms large) A lakh pilgrims have already offered their prayers at the shrine since the yatra began.

HELPLINE: The public has been advised to contact the following telephone numbers for any assistance: Joint Police Control Room (Pahalgam): 9596779039; 9797796217; 01936243233; 01936243018

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