The Army rescued 447 tourists stranded due to heavy snowfall near the India-China border in Sikkim on Thursday, the NDTV reported. The tourists were stuck on the Nathu La- Gangtok road following a severe snowstorm and subzero temperatures.
Nathu La is a premier tourist attraction in north Sikkim. The tourists were travelling in about 155 vehicles that got stuck over a 15-kilometer stretch and started skidding after the snowstorm, said Army sources.
The Army officials, braving the adverse weather conditions, rescued the tourists and provided them with accommodation, food and medical support.
"The tourists were rescued in army vehicles and accommodated inside the barracks of 17 Mile Military Camp. All tourists were provided accommodation while 26 had to be hospitalised and required given critical medical support. There were no major injuries or casualties," a press statement said.
Following the incident and heavy snowfall in Nathu La and nearby areas, the tourism department has been prompted to stop issuing permit to the tourist vehicles travelling to Changu Lake and other destinations in the eastern Sikkim from Saturday, an official said.
This is also not the first instance where Indian army has rescued the stranded tourists near the India-China border. On Dec 29, 2019, the Indian Army had rescued around 1,500 stranded tourists due to heavy snowfall in Nathu La in East Sikkim
Approximately 1,500 to 1,700 tourists travelling in about 300 taxis were stuck in the snow between 13th Mile and Nathu La Pass.
(with inputs from NDTV)