Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, July 27
The injured persons would never be able to forget the July 25 landslide in Kinnaur, a nightmare that has left an indelible mark on their mind.
“While on return from Chitkul to Sangla, we saw rolling stones coming for the top of the hill and the driver reversed the vehicle but it was too late and a huge boulder hit our vehicle, toppling it over and making it slide towards the gorge,” recalled Naveen Bhardwaj from Mohali in Punjab, who had a miraculous escape.
“I am still not sure if I jumped out of the window or was thrown out and fell on the mud. As rolling stones were still coming, I just lay down and ran towards a tree for shelter from where I made a call to the police. Meanwhile, I started shouting for help and heard the voice of Shiril Obroy (from Delhi) and ran for his rescue.
“I could connect with the police on the second call as the first had failed. The rescue teams were spontaneous in reaching the spot and rescue operations were started,” said Naveen, a software engineer, who sustained head injuries.
“I purposely uploaded a five minute video on my YouTube channel to send a message to travellers to avoid going to vulnerable places during monsoon, adhere to advisories of the administration, do not take hill routes casually, be aware of topography and be prepared while travelling,” he said.
“It was my luck or something else I really do not know, but last two days have been most stressful in my life,” said Shiril, adding that there are lot of ifs and buts now for example “if we had not given pass to two vehicle enroute to Chitkul, maybe we had crossed the killer stretch before boulders came shooting down”. He sustained fracture on nose besides back injuries.
The Tempo Traveller carrying 11 persons had started on Friday from Delhi, reached Chitkul on Saturday evening and met with the accident on Sunday afternoon. The passengers were on an eight-day trip to Spiti.
Nine tourists were killed while three, including a local pedestrian, were injured as falling boulders hit their vehicle near Batseri on Sangla-Chitkul road in Kinnaur on Sunday.
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