24 tourists stranded at 15,000 feet following landslides

May 28th, 2009 - 9:38 pm ICT by IANS  

Gangtok, May 28 (IANS) Two dozen tourists have been stranded for two days at a height of 15,000 feet in north Sikkim following road blocks due to landslides in the tiny Himalayan state.
The tourists, several of whom have fallen sick due to the high altitude, were returning from a trip to Gurudongmar Lake when an entire stretch of the road gave way two kilometres below Thangu at Thamchung Wednesday.

The situation has worsened due to several smaller landslides at four places along the route following heavy rains triggered by cyclone Aila which ravaged West Bengal earlier this week.

Officials said the stranded tourists have been temporarily housed in small hotels at Thangu. Three of those stranded, including a middle-aged diabetic woman reported to be sick for want of insulin, have been kept at the military base hospital in Thangu.

The officials said it might take as many as ten days to re-open the road.

Tourism secretary S.B.S. Bhaduria has asked the central agencies to allow a helicopter to fly the sick tourists to safety, but so far no official permission has been received.

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