First batch of rescued pilgrims from ill-fated Uttarakhand trip return to city

Harried, hassled and having survived the Himalayan tsunami, the first batch of pilgrims from the ill-fated trip to Uttarakhand alighted at the Secunderabad railway station on Friday night, after spending over two days in the icy ranges and cut off from the rest of the world.

The eight-member team, headed by ‘Guruswamy’ Chalam, which had members from Gudimalkapur, Seetharambagh and Asifnagar in the city, had gone on the Char Dham pilgrimage a fortnight ago. After covering Gangotri, Kedarnath and other such pilgrim sites, they had only begun their return journey when they got trapped in rain and avalanches on June 16.

“The road was totally cut off and our car could not move. We spent two-and-a-half days in a village called Damta on a hillock, 15 kilometres from Yamunotri,” Mr. Chalam recollected.

The Army came to their rescue on the third day and created a narrow pathway on which they trekked for 15 to 20 kilometres to reach a safer place.

Mr. Chalam said he was airlifted to Mussoorie as he was not in a position to travel anymore. The rest of the lot found their way, by different means, to Delhi before they boarded the A.P Express on Thursday.

Other members of the group are: Balaraj, Narsimhulu, Prabhakaran, Gautamraj, Madhukar, Pratap Kumar, and Mallesh Yadav.

Meanwhile, another batch of 34 passengers who went on the tour, arranged by Rao’s Tours and Travels, are safe and are expected to arrive in Delhi by Sunday, officials informed.

11 go missing

Sitamma of Ramanathapur told The Hindu from Rishikesh that 11 members of their group were missing after floods hit Kedarnath. She and nine others were safe.

The Uttarakhand administration has confirmed that over a dozen pilgrims from Hyderabad have been rescued from Guptkashi and Rudraprayag: Ayur, Ankush, Susheel, Aishwarya, Himangi, Aryan, Anita, Geeta, Rahul, Lakshmi Devi, Geeta Bhai, Saraswati, Rajiv and Lata.

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