Chopper pressed into service to rescue pilgrims en route to Madmaheshwar | Image: X
Rescuers have safely evacuated 293 pilgrims stranded since Monday on the trek route to Madmaheshwar temple following a bridge collapse in rain-hit Uttarakhand's Rudraprayag district.
The shrine, which is part of the Panch Kedar group of temples in Uttarakhand, is located at an altitude of 11,473 feet.
The rescue operation concluded with the evacuation of 293 pilgrims, Rudraprayag District Disaster Management Officer Nandan Singh Rajwar said on Wednesday.
State Disaster Response Force personnel were pressed into service and 240 pilgrims airlifted by a helicopter on Wednesday. Another 53 pilgrims were evacuated on Tuesday through the rope-river crossing method, the state disaster control room here said on Wednesday.
Around 290 pilgrims were stranded on the route on Monday when a bridge at Bantoli in Gaundar village collapsed following a heavy downpour. Incessant rain has been lashing various parts of the hill state, causing landslides that demolished buildings and flooding rivers and streams whose swirling waters swept away people in separate incidents.
A temporary helipad was built with the help of locals at Nanu Khark, about seven kilometres below the Madmaheshwar temple, from where the rescue operation was carried out, Ukhimath Subdivisional Magistrate Jitendra Verma said.
The pilgrims were airlifted from Nanu Khark and dropped off at Ransi village from where they returned to their respective destinations on foot, he said.
Meanwhile, rescuers pulled out four more bodies, including those of a couple and their son, from the debris at a resort in the Lakshman Jhula area of Rishikesh that was hit by a landslide following heavy rain on Monday.
Two bodies were retrieved late on Tuesday and two others on Wednesday, the SSP Office in Pauri said.
The victims have been identified as 39-year-old Kamal Verma, his wife Nisha (37) and their son Nirmit (11). The other body has been identified as that of Nishant Verma (18), son of one Ravi Verma.
The death toll stemming from Monday's rain-related incidents in Uttarakhand has risen to 10 with the recoveries of these four bodies.
The Night Paradise Camp resort in the Lakshman Jhula area of Pauri district was hit by a landslide on Monday. The six people inside the resort when the incident occurred were buried in the debris.
Located in Rishikesh, the Lakshman Jhula area falls under the jurisdiction of Pauri district.
Rescuers late on Monday pulled out 10-year-old Kritika Verma -- the lone survivor -- and retrieved the body of 24-year-old Monti Verma. The pair hailed from Haryana's Panipat and Kurukshetra districts, respectively, the SSP Office said.
A woman and her son, whose car was swept away by a flooded rain-fed stream in the Yamkeshwar area of Pauri district on Monday, are still missing. One person of Nepali origin from Lincholi area in Rudraparayag district is also missing.
Distruption of road traffic continued with the Pauri-Kotdwar-Dugadda national highway blocked by landslide debris at Amsaur and a stretch of the Rishikesh-Badrinath national highway washed away near Pipalkoti Bharenpani, the state's disaster control room said.
Efforts are underway to reopen the roads, it said.
Meanwhile, two Nepalese siblings were killed and five others injured when a house collapsed at Helang near subsidence-hit Joshimath in Chamoli district late on Tuesday, officials said on Wednesday.
There were seven people inside the two-storey house when it collapsed around 8 pm. Rescue operations were launched immediately after the incident.
One of the victims died on the spot while the other succumbed at a hospital early on Wednesday, they said.
Of the five people rescued from the rubble, two are in a serious condition, they added.
The house was built near the Vishnugad crusher unit on the banks of the Alaknanda river. People working in the crusher unit were living in the house.
The victims were identified as Anmol (19) and Prince (21).
Earlier this year, several houses in Joshimath were damaged due to land subsidence and the problem has aggravated since the onset of monsoon.
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