Avalanche Kills Russian Skier In Gulmarg

Srinagar—A Russian skier died after being buried by an avalanche in a skiing resort in Jammu and Kashmir's Gulmarg, police said on Friday.

Four others were rescued alive from the resort and taken to a local hospital for treatment, a police spokesman added.

Authorities had issued an avalanche warning for the higher reaches of Kashmir following fresh snowfall on Monday.

This is the second incident of an avalanche hitting foreign skiers at Gulmarg this year.

On January 18, a Swedish skier was killed when he was hit by an avalanche.

An official spokesman said the Russian group boarded the Gondola at around 11:30 am and came under avalanche at 12 noon. The group had arrived at Delhi on 13 February and moved to Gulmarg on February 14.

“The skiers had also signed an indemnity bond that they would not go into back country where avalanches occur on regular basis. However, the group still ventured into the area resulting in the tragic death of the skier,” the spokesman said.

To make the skiers aware about the avalanche prone areas, the department, he said, is organising Awareness Talk every Tuesday at 7 pm in which snow safety officer of the department Brian Newman provides them every information about the risks involved in certain areas. The awareness program receives good participation of the skiers especially foreigners. In order to propogate avalanche awareness, the department also puts Avalanche Talk live on its facebook. Besides, the department has also erected sign boards at different places at upper reaches of Gulmarg informing the skiers about the avalanche areas.

Meanwhile, department of Tourism has expressed grief over the demise of the skier.

Season Toll 21

With the killing of Russian skiers at Gulmarg on Friday, the death toll due to avalanches in Kashmir Valley this season has risen to 21.

On February 2, three soldiers were killed and another was injured after a snow avalanche swept away an army post came in Machil sector of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district.

On January 18, a Swedish skier identified by his first name Daniel was killed while another was rescued in injured condition by police and tourism officials after an avalanche struck Kashmir’s primer ski resort of Gulmarg, 54-km west of summer capital Srinagar.

Earlier on January 6, eleven persons including a junior engineer of Border Roads Organization (BRO)’s BEACON project were killed and two others wounded when swept by three successive avalanches in along Sadhna Top mountain pass in Kupwara.

Five soldiers died after being swept in avalanches or caught in snow storms at different locations in Kupwara and neighbouring Bandipore district in second week of December 2017.

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