2 Polish skiers die in Gulmarg avalanche, two rescued
Post by Noor Mohi-ud-din on Thursday, February 2, 2023
Baramulla, Feb 01: Two foreign skiers were killed while two others were rescued when an avalanche hit the ski resort Gulmarg in north Kashmir's Baramulla district on Wednesday afternoon.
Additional Director Tourism Gulmarg, Dr. Javid ul Rehman told Rising Kashmir that the two Polish skiers were skiing near the Apharwat peak close to the second phase of the Gondola cable car project when an avalanche struck, trapping them in the snow.
He said that soon after the incident, a ski rescue team of Jammu and Kashmir Police assisted by the Tourism Department launched a search operation to locate the stuck skiers.
"While Wasil Krzysctof Jeezy 43 and Grzech Adam Roman 43 were declared dead, two others were rescued and rushed to a hospital in Tangmarg for immediate treatment," he added.
He further stated that the other two skiers are in a stable condition now.
Dr. Javid said that the skiers had ventured into the backcountry area where advisories were already issued.
"The deceased were part of a group of four skiers who moved to the back country area despite strict instructions. These skiers visit Kashmir only for back country skiing and usually don't follow any instructions," he added.
Senior Superintendent of Police Baramulla Amod Nagpure told media that on February 01, three teams comprising 21 foreign nationals and 2 local guides went to Affarwat Gulmarg for skiing.
"At about 12.30 pm a massive avalanche hit Hapat Khud Kongdori where these skiing teams got trapped," SSP Baramulla said.
He further said that on receiving the information Baramulla police mobilised joint rescue teams of JKP and the tourism department and they reached the site of the avalanche.
"During the rescue ops, 19 foreign nationals and 2 local guides were rescued. Unfortunately, 2 foreign nationals lost their lives in the avalanche, and their dead bodies were also recovered, which were shifted to hospital for medico legal procedures," he added.
Officials said that the tourists had gone skiing despite an avalanche warning being issued by the state disaster management authority.
Earlier the Jammu and Kashmir, state's disaster management authority had issued an advisory stating that avalanche with medium danger level is likely to occur above 2200 to 2500 metres over Anantnag, Ganderbal, Bandipora, Baramulla, Kupwara, Doda, Kishtwar, Kulgam, Poonch & Ramban districts in next 24 hours.
This is the third accident at Gulmarg after Jan, 2018, when a 26-year-old Swedish skier was killed while another was rescued when an avalanche hit popular tourist destination Gulmarg.
In June, 2017, seven people were killed in a tree crash caused by a windstorm near Kongdori in Gulmarg.
Avalanche warning issued in four Kashmir districts
Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday issued a medium danger avalanche warning in four districts in view of the recent snowfall in the Valley.
"Avalanche with medium danger level is likely to occur above the altitude of 2,400 metres over Baramulla, Ganderbal, Kupwara, Bandipora in the next 24 hours," an official said here.
He said the possibility of avalanches was high due to an approaching western disturbance.
People have been advised not to venture out in the avalanche-prone areas, the official said.
The warning comes on a day when two Polish skiers were killed and 19 other foreign tourists had to be rescued following an avalanche in the Gulmarg area of Baramulla district. PTI