Srinagar: As many as 300-350 people, including women and children, stuck on the road to the Zojila Pass, connecting the Kashmir Valley to Ladakh, following heavy snowfall have been rescued by the Indian Army, a defence release said on Friday.
According to the release, the continuing westerly disturbances led to heavy snowfall in the areas of Sonamarg, Baltal and Nilgrar upto the Zojila Pass on Thursday night even as a large number of loaded trucks and passenger vehicles were moving towards it.
“The untimely and heavy snowfall, especially on the higher reaches, resulted in many vehicles skidding off the road and getting stranded in the snow, causing traffic jam at many places. Almost 250-300 trucks and passenger vehicles got stranded near the Zojila Pass.
“The traffic jam resulted in a very dangerous situation, wherein approximately 300-350 people, including women and children, were stranded at above 11,000 feet heat and temperatures at minus 7 degrees,” it said, adding that army rescue columns, in coordination with the civil administration, moved promptly with aid.
As the police and GREF personnel got busy with clearing the traffic and snow respectively, the army columns started providing immediate medical aid and assistance.
While the stranded vehicles were recovered and organised to return, the stuck passengers were evacuated to Sonamarg town in Army vehicles and medical assistance, hot food and blankets provided to them, the release said.
“This immediate and pro-active action by the Army was critical in ensuring timely rescue, relief and saving precious lives. The humanitarian assistance provided to the Awam in their hour of need was much appreciated,” it said.