With mercury dipping to subzero degree, every moment passing was a sign of danger to the two stranded individuals at Zojila Pass. Indian Army rescued the individuals in a very daring and specialized rescue operation.
National Defence Bureau,
New Delhi, 06 November 2018
Following heavy and ontinuous snowfall for approximately 48 hours on 1st and 2nd November 2018 movement of vehicles the Zojila Pass was closed. However, two trucks which had crossed Sonamarg on the 1st November got stuck a few kms short of Zojila pass due to mechanical failure and puncture. Information was received by the Dras Army Brigade on the 3rd November that these two civil truck drivers were stuck at Zojila pass approximately 4 Km from the army check post at Gumri. Responding to the input a rescue team was constituted and coordination was done with 762 Border Road Task Force & the High Altitude Warfare School in Sonomarg to commence the rescue operations. With mercury dipping to subzero degree, every moment passing was a sign of danger to the two stranded individuals.
Capt Sachin Kupati, officer in charge at Gumri led the rescue team from Gumri with the Dozer Operator Tippy of 762 BRTF driven by Operator Tippu. The team could commence their work only on the 4th November morning due to continuous snowfall on the 3rd as well. After 36 hours of operation the team was able to reach the truck drivers working under extreme avalanche prone and blizzard conditions and low temperatures of minus 25 with high velocity winds. Meanwhile, after the weather cleared, on 5th November, two specialist rescue personnel from HAWS were also heli dropped close to Gumri to support the operations.
The truck drivers identified as Shamsher Singh & Jigender Singh were after rescue from the site and were put under medical observation at Gumri Camp and were facilitated to contact their family members to inform of their well-being. Timely initiative by the Army in inclement weather has managed to save two civilians from a possibly dangerous outcome.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.