Two foreigners were killed after an avalanche hit the Afarwat peak in Gulmarg in north Kashmir on Wednesday.
An operation was soon launched in the area and 19 foreigners were rescued. The identity of the deceased is being ascertained. According to reports, the two dead tourists are from Poland. They were part of three skiing teams comprising 21 foreign nationals and two local guides. At about 12.30 pm, a massive avalanche hit Hapat Khud Kongdori, trapping all the skiers.
Baramulla police mobilised joint rescue teams of J&K Police and the tourism department and they rescued 19 foreign nationals and the two local guides from the avalanche site. However, two foreign nationals lost their lives in the avalanche. Their bodies have also been recovered and moved to the hospital for medico-legal procedures. Senior police officers are at the site monitoring the rescue operations.
Gulmarg, known for heavy snowfall in the winter, attracts tourists, especially ski-lovers, from across India and abroad. The place is known as the Switzerland of the east for its breathtaking beauty, slopes and quality of snow for skiing. The bowl-shaped valley lies 50 km from Srinagar and is a major attraction in summer also. It has one of Asia's longest ropeways and Gondola Cable Car to ferry visitors from Gulmarg to Kongdori in nine minutes.