Two dead as avalanche hits group of trainee mountaineers in India | News

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At least 19 others are missing as soldiers and rescuers scour the area in the northern state of Uttarakhand.

Two people have died and at least 19 are missing after a group of trainee mountaineers was hit by an avalanche, officials said, as soldiers and rescuers scoured the area in the northern state of Uttarakhand.

Authorities were alerted of an avalanche near the Draupadi Ka Danda-II peak in the Himalayas at about 9:30am local time (04:00 GMT) on Tuesday.

The first responders were deployed immediately, Uttarakhand state official Devendra Singh Patwal said on Tuesday, adding that eight people had been rescued.

“The Indian Air Force is doing an aerial recce of the mountain where this happened. It is not easy to reach the spot. We only know that two people have died in this avalanche,” Uttarakhand police chief Ashok Kumar told Reuters news agency by telephone.

Patwal said the group mainly consisted of trainees from the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, a well-known mountaineering school under India’s defence ministry.

Uttarakhand’s chief minister Pushkar Singh Dhami said the National Disaster Response Force and the Indian army have deployed teams to help with rescue efforts.

Avalanches are common in the mountainous areas of Uttarakhand. Last year, a glacier burst in the state resulting in a flash flood that left more than 200 people dead.

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