Seven tourists were killd and several injured Tuesday In India’s Himalayan state of Sikkim near a mountain pass to the Chinese region of Tibet after several vehicles were hit by a huge avalanche. The snow struck a road. Police and other emergency workers launched a rescue operation soon after. At least 20 people had been rescued alive but eight survivors were in critical condition. A video released by the Indian army showed rescuers digging through the snow. Rescue operations continued into the evening.
Nathu La mountain pass is along the border with China and is a major tourist destination. The avalanche also left hundreds of Nathula-bound tourists stranded on the road for several hours before they were able to move. Rajnath Singh, India’s Defense Minister, said he was “saddened” by the loss of life in the avalanche. Avalanches in the area were unusual at this time of year. Over the past two years, avalanches in the Indian Himalayas have killed at least 120 people. The region has been severely affected by global warming.