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Gulmarg avalanche takes life of one Russian skier while 4 others are rescued

245   //    17 Feb 2018, 01:40 IST

Skiing is undoubtedly a risky sport

What's the story?

Avalanches in Jammu and Kashmir are a common scenario and at times they claim lives as well. A number of army men, mountaineers, residents and skiers die in these avalanches. Another avalanche that occurred on Friday (16 February) in Gulmarg claimed the life of a Russian skier. The skier is identified as Stanis Dav. However, four of his skiing compatriots were rescued.

In case you didn't know

The Jammu and Kashmir state disaster management authority had already issued a warning that there might be an avalanche on 15 and 16 February. This warning asked people to avoid venturing near avalanche prone areas during and around this period.

However, the five Russian skiers ignored the warnings and went ahead. They were further warned by the Chief Executive Officer of the Gulmarg Development Authority, Muhammad Haneef Balki when they started their expedition but the skiers paid no heed to the warnings.

The heart of the matter

The skiers were skiing near Apharwat peak in Hapat Khud area during the time of the avalanche. On Thursday itself a "medium danger" alert was issued in the areas of Baramulla, Gulmarg, Furkian-Z Gali and Kupwara-Chowkibal-Tangdhar areas.

Avalanches have been killing a number of people in the area lately. A Swedish skier died on 18 January at the Gulmarg ski resort due to an avalanche. Kupwara district has already witnessed 14 deaths in 2018 due to avalanches including 11 in a single accident.

What's next?

The winter season is coming to an end in mountainous regions like Jammu and Kashmir and this is the high time for the disaster management authorities out there to work towards mitigating mechanisms to avoid avalanche based deaths in future. A large number of army men also die from these every year causing huge losses to their families and the country.

Author's take

The step taken by the Russian skiers to go ahead despite multiple warnings turned out to be a foolish one and should be seen as an example for tourists who plan to practice the tough sport of skiing.

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