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Amarnath: Rescued pilgrims narrate horrifying experiences of witnessing cloudburst

Srinagar (Jammu and Kashmir) : Pilgrims who managed to reach Sonamarg's Baltal base camp from Amarnath holy cave after it was hit by the cloudburst narrated their harrowing experiences. Deepak Chouhan, a pilgrim from Uttar Pradesh's Hardoi told ANI, "A stampede-like situation happened there, but Army supported a lot. Many pandals were washed away due to the water." Another pilgrim Sumit from Maharashtra said, "the floods triggered by the cloudburst carried a large number of stones with it. We were two kilometres away from the cloudburst site" Another pilgrim said, "When the cloudburst took place, we could not believe it. After a while, we only saw water and water. We were a group of seven to eight people, by Bholenath's grace, we all got saved. However, we all had a harrowing experience as we witnessed people and bags swept away with the water.""Within 10 minutes of the cloudburst, eight casualties were reported. The water carried a large number of stones with it. There were approximately 15,000 pilgrims who came for the pilgrims. The pilgrims continued to come despite heavy rains," he added. Earlier on Saturday, Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troops conducted a rescue operation early on Saturday, said ITBP. Earlier on Friday, Thirteen people were killed and over 48 others injured when a cloudburst struck the area near the holy shrine of Amarnath, said Dr A Shah, Chief Medical Officer Ganderbal, Jammu and Kashmir. As of now, all the injured patients are being taken care of at all three base hospitals: Upper Holy Cave, Lower Holy Cave, Panjtarni and other nearby facilities en route to the holy cave by the health care workers deputed at these stations. A cloudburst incident took place at the holy cave area of Amarnath on Friday which resulted in a heavy discharge of water in the 'Nallah', adjoining the holy cave. According to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) officials, the cloud burst occurred at the lower holy cave (Amarnath) at around 5.30 PM and the rescue teams rushed to the spot.

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