Army rescues 24 tourists from 15,000 feet in Sikkim

May 29th, 2009 - 11:00 pm ICT by IANS  

Gangtok, May 29 (IANS) In a daring rescue act that stretched on till Friday morning, Indian Army troops have evacuated all the 24 tourists, including two ailing diabetics, who were stranded at a height of 15,000 feet at Thangu in North Sikkim.
The tourists, trapped for two days following road blocks due to landslides in the tiny Himalayan state, were rescued in an operation that began Thursday night, according to Travel Agents Association of Sikkim (TAAS) president Paljor Lachungpa.

The two aged tourists - taken ill because of the high altitude and want of insulin - were carried on stretchers across inhospitable terrain and treacherous weather Thursday night after attempts to evacuate them by a helicopter failed.

The other 22 tourists, who had also approached the army, were Friday asked to assemble in Thangu, from where they were brought to safety.

The tourists were returning from a trip to Gurudongmar Lake when an entire stretch of the road gave way two km below Thangu at Thamchung Wednesday.

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

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