50 rescued from Babusar Pass, Deosai plains

Updated October 19, 2018

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Army conducts a rescue operation. — Photo/File
Army conducts a rescue operation. — Photo/File

GILGIT: Army personnel rescued on Thursday more than 50 people, including a foreigner and 20 local tourists, who were stranded at Babusar Pass and Deosai plains due to heavy snowfall.

Army helicopters airlifted the affected people, including children and women, who had been stranded at Babusar Pass and Deosai plains since Sunday.

A press release issued by the ISPR said that about 20 people got stuck at Babusar Pass on Wednesday because of heavy snowfall. They were rescued by the Army Aviation’s helicopters in an operation led by Commander FCNA Maj Gen Ehsan Mehmood Khan.

The condition of the foreign female tourist airlifted from Deosai to Skardu was said to be stable.

35 people from Diamer district of GB stranded at Lalusar for last three days

The army and civil administration officials cleared the road with the help of machinery, said the press release.

Spokesman for the Gilgit-Baltistan government Faizullah Faraq told Dawn that around 40 of the 50 people rescued from atop Deosai and Babusar were children and women, mostly shepherds and labourers stranded at Behsal, Gatidas and Jalkhat areas. Around 20 were tourists, including a woman cyclist from Germany, and wildlife employees.

Mr Faraq said all the rescued people were safe and united with their families. At least 35 people from Diamer district of GB were still stranded at Gatidas, Jalkhat and Bahsal areas of Lalusar near Babusar Pass for the last three days following heavy snowfall, he added.

The Lalusar area is situated on boundary of GB and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. Land link between the two sides has been cut since Sunday and rescue operation is yet to start because of continued snowfall. Relatives were worried about their survival.

According to police, shepherds and labourers living in Diamer shift to Gatidas, Jalkhat and Bahsal areas along with their livestock in June and return by November.

They said snowfall usually began in November, but this year it started earlier, closing Babusar Pass road for all traffic.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2018