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Snow leaves 4 dead in HP; 9 missing
Tribune News Service

Shimla, December 23
Four persons have died and nine others are reported missing following heavy snowfall in Himachal Pradesh during the past 24 hours.

Two persons - Sanjeev Kumar and Naresh - were found dead in a vehicle (HP 34 1134) that got stranded in the snow near Gramfu in Keylong, administrative headquarters of Lahaul, today. The victims belonged to Patlikuhl in Kullu.

Keylong SDM Prashant Sarkek said another man - Shekhar - was brought to Koksar by a rescue team today and was likely to be airlifted to Kullu tomorrow.

Two more persons - Raj and Amar Singh - died yesterday after their vehicle got stuck in heavy snowfall near Thirot, 40 km from Keylong. One survivor, Prem Nath, was airlifted by the rescue team today. Further, four employees of the Himachal Pradesh State Electronics Corporation reportedly went missing while returning to Kullu after dropping equipment at the Deputy Commissionerís office in Keylong. Their vehicle (HP 58 5649) remained untraceable.

Those missing included Agriculture Extension Officer Roop Lal, clerk Jitender and driver Thapa. The fourth, an engineer, could not be identified.

Rescue teams comprising police and Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) personnel left Koksar and Mari to search for the missing employees. A search by helicopter remained unsuccessful due to bad weather.

Efforts are also on to evacuate five persons who got stranded in the Shvet Dhar area of Mehla in Chamba. The five, including Jatkari panchayat vice-chief Vikram Singh, had gone to a temple in Shvet Dhar when they got stuck after heavy snowfall. The others included Pritam, Jog Singh, Chhaju Ram and Kishori Lal.

Their families met Chamba Deputy Commissioner Sandeep Kadam today and sought rescue by helicopter.

The state continued to reel under severe cold wave conditions. The sky remained partially overcast and strong icy winds continued to lash Shimla and other higher reaches of the state.

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