The Indian Army's Fire and Fury Corps had rescued six seriously ill tourists who were stranded during a trek on the Zanskar river in Ladakh after multiple search and rescue columns were launched. On the request of the Union Territory administration, the Army responded swiftly and columns were launched from two directions to reach the tourists who were stuck at Niraq village along the Zanskar River. The group of tourists were stranded in bad weather while undertaking the annual ''Chaddar Trek'' on the frozen Zanskar river in Ladakh.
An Army Medical Officer was also inducted to provide immediate medical aid to the tourists. Medicines, emergency rations and warm clothing were also inducted by the helicopters. Six seriously ill tourists, who were suffering from effects of frostbite and High Altitude Pulmonary Odema (HAPO) were evacuated by the helicopters to the Army medical facility in Leh. Helicopters of the Army Aviation were also pressed into service for the purpose. Despite the inclement weather and narrow valleys of the Zanskar river, helicopters of the Army Aviation managed to land at a makeshift helipad in Niraq and inducted a column of Army personnel to coordinate the rescue operations.
Earlier on January 13, forty-one trekkers undertaking the Chadar trek were rescued after water overflowed over ice on the Zanskar river in Leh, a senior official said. The official also announced a temporary suspension of Chadak Trek for the next two days due to inclement weather.
"The trekkers who were stuck between Tibb and Neyraks camps due to overflowing of water over ice have been rescued and temporarily accommodated at Neraks village. All of them are safe and all necessary arrangements for their safety, security, and evacuation have been put in place by the district administration," said Leh District Magistrate Sachin Kumar Vaishya.
In view of the inclement weather conditions, Chadar trek has temporarily been suspended for two days from Monday, he added. "The decision for the opening of Chadar trek shall be taken only after field assessment," the officer said.
Chaddar Trek or the Zanskar Gorge is an annual winter event in Ladakh popular amongst tourists wherein trek is undertaken on the frozen Zanskar River over a period of four to five days, staging halts in between. Traditionally the only means of travel in the area during the harsh winter months, the trail has become popular with adventure tourists.
(with agencies input)