“The army has launched a massive relief and rescue operation to save the pilgrims trapped in landslide at Baltal,” defence ministry spokesman Lieutenant Colonel N.N. Joshi said in Srinagar
“There were cloudburst-triggered landslides at three places between Baltal gate and Rangamor,” Joshi said.
A search of the area was started by elements of the 19 Garhwal Regiment. A Quick Reaction Team (QRT) of 24 Rashtriya Rifles also reached Sonamarg along with rescue parties from the nearby Gagangir camp.
Work has started to clear the landslide and open the road where it got blocked near a fish pond.
The cloudburst in Baltal resulted in deaths of two children identified as Pooja, 13, daughter of Prakash, a resident of Rajasthan and Vikram, 12, son of Kailash, also a resident of Rajasthan.
Nine people were injured, 780 have been shifted to an army camp and 1,500 Yatris have been shifted to Bhandvas, while 12 shops have been washed away, the defence spokesperson said.
Of the injured, one critically injured person has been airlifted to Srinagar for specialised treatment.
The missing have been identified as Maiser, Anil Sahu, Ashaq Sahid Mir, Reyaz Ahmed Lone, Mustaq Ahmed, Ramdevi and Fayaz Ahmed Mir, the official added.
Police said the two children who lost their lives were working at some shops outside the yatra base camp.
Multiple cloudbursts had killed three people on July 16 in Kulan village on the Srinagar-Leh national highway, the route used by the pilgrims to the Baltal base camp.
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