The army has rescued 447 tourists stuck at snow-bound Nathu-La near the India-China border in Sikkim following a snowstorm, defence officials said on Friday. Defence spokesman Lt. Col. P. Khongsai told IANS that soldiers in prompt action rescued the 447 tourists from the high reaches of Nathu La near the India-China border following sudden heavy snowfall on Thursday.
He said that the tourists in 155 vehicles were stuck on the Nathu La-Gangtok road following a severe snowstorm and sub-zero temperatures.
"The tourists were stranded over a 15 km stretch and started skidding after the snowstorm. The travellers were rescued in army vehicles and accommodated inside the barracks of the 17-Mile military camp. All tourists were provided accommodation while 26 had to be hospitalised after they required critical medical support. There were no major injuries or casualties," the defence official said.
Khongsai said that the brave hearts of the Indian Army in spite of very adverse weather and hostile conditions rescued tourists and provided accommodation, food and medical support.
Nathu La (meaning "listening ears"), in East Sikkim district, is one of the highest motorable roads in the world. It is a mountain pass in the Himalayan peaks situated on the Indo-Tibetan border 14,450 feet above sea level.