Nearly 80 people from Karnataka stranded in various parts of the flood-affected Kedarnath sector were rescued and brought to safe places — Hardwar, Rishikesh and Dehradun — by rescue teams on Sunday.
The Karnataka government is planning to deploy a six-seater helicopter for rescue operations from Monday. The chopper is being pressed into service to reach inaccessible areas as authorities fear many people might have been trapped between Kedarnath and Gowrikund.
Deputy Inspector-General of Police (Internal Security) Hemanth Nimbalkar, one of the three members of the special rescue team from Karnataka deployed there, told The Hindu 55 tourists — whom Mangalore-based Nirmala Travels had taken on tour — have been rescued. There could be about 200 people still trapped at different parts of the sector, he said.
Bangalore Additional Commissioner of Police (Law and Order) Kamal Pant, who is coordinating the rescue operations from Bangalore, said disaster management centres were functional in Bangalore, New Delhi and Dehradun.
A couple from RPC Layout, Vijayanagar in Bangalore, both senior citizens, who returned to the city Sunday afternoon by the Karnataka Express, said they were lucky to have halted at a safe distance from the disaster-prone area on the eve of the floods.
Keshavaraju, a retired engineer with HAL, and his wife Sumithramma, were touring the north and their group halted at Barkot, 45 km from Kedarnath last Saturday.
Mr. Keshavaraju told The Hindu they were preparing for their onward journey towards Kedarnath when they got to know about the calamity.
Though they cancelled that trip, they visited the nearby Saraswati-Yamuna confluence and were astonished to see the huge volume of water gushing down the Sangam. After coming back to Delhi, they said, they had to pull some high-level strings to get railway ticket confirmation. The couple boarded the train on Friday evening.