TNN | Feb 7, 2013, 02.40 AM IST
SHIMLA: Seven residents of Kafnu village of Kinnaur district defeated death by surviving an avalanche that buried them under 100 feet of snow for around eight hours. According to sources, the villagers managed to survive as they quickly shifted to lower portion of the house when the avalanche struck the place, and when it collapsed the wooden structure provided them enough room inside the snow to breathe.
A massive avalanche buried around eight houses of Kafnu village in the morning. Seven people from two families were found missing and the locals approached the local administration. A massive manual operation was launched to trace the missing people as due to heavy snowfall it was not possible to press the machinery into service. Around 150 villagers along with home guard jawans, administration officials and a medical team started the rescue operation in the morning. By 3.15 pm they managed to rescue all the residents out of 100 feet of snow.
Kinnaur deputy commissioner Captain J M Pathania said that safe rescue of all seven villagers was nothing less than a miracle as they all were buried under 100 feet snow. "Entire digging was done manually as it was not possible to use machines. All rescued residents have been provided medical treatment and shifted to nearby government buildings as their own houses have been damaged in the avalanche," he said. Pathania said that administration also provided Rs 15,000 each to rescued families as immediate relief.
Pathania said that the avalanche had hit two houses near Kafnu at 7 am, in which Birma Chand, his wife Hiramani and his daughter Tammana were trapped and rescued by teams comprising local people, police and homeguard jawans at around 11.30 am. The other family of Sarita and her three children, namely Indu, Bindu and Guddia, were rescued at around 3.15 pm.
Kinnaur district has been witnessing continuous heavy snowfall for last few days. While four feet of snow was recoded till Tuesday, on Wednesday another one-and half feet snow accumulated. "Already high alert has been sounded in the district and people have been advised to stay indoors on account of increased intensity of avalanches," officials said. Hospital and fire services have been kept open at the district headquarters Reckong Peo. Power supply was restored on Tuesday but now again the entire district is without power.