2 Die, 3 Missing as Cars Plunge in Kashmir River

Srinagar, June 12: Two youth were killed after two vehicles plunged into Lidder River in Pahalgam tourist resort in South Kashmir last evening. A youth was rescued after 12-hours this morning while three more are still missing and efforts are on to trace them out.

An official spokesman said two vehicles – Ford Siesta and Maruti 800, which were on way from Srinagar to Pahalgam, skidded off the road near Nunwan due to heavy rain and poor visibility at around 2130 hours yesterday.

“Both the vehicles fell in the turbulent Lidder and were washed away by the water,” he said.

He also said a joint rescue operation was immediately launched by army, police and Fire Services personnel. The Indian Air Force choppers were also pressed into service to rescue the travelers.

“Four passengers travelling in maruti were washed away. However, one Sajad Ahmed Lanker, who was travelling in the Ford Siesta managed to reach the roof-top of his vehicle and shouted for help. His associate Yasir Farooq was washed away. The rescue workers tried their level best to retrieve the trapped person but due to heavy down pour and darkness, their repeated attempts failed,” he said.

The spokesman said the rescue operation continued throughout the night without any success. “In the morning, the Bronto Skylift and Advance Rescue tender of Fire Services were pressed into service to rescue the youth. Braving all odds and hostile weather, the firemen managed to rescue Sajad after remaining trapped in the roof-top of the vehicle for almost 12 hours. He was immediately referred to SKIMS Soura where he is recovering,” he said.

He said bodies of Yasir Farooq and Mudasir Ahmed Shah were recovered. “The rescuers were still searching for bodies of Showkat and two other unidentified persons,” he said.

Meanwhile, pall of gloom descended in Khankahi Moulla in the old city when body of Yasir was brought to his home this afternoon. Amid tears and sobs, hundreds of people participated in the funeral prayers of the youth. He was later laid to rest at his ancestral graveyard.