The Indian Army conducted a massive rescue operation of nearly 680 people who were stuck in Sela Pass near Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh following heavy snowfall in the region.

Around 320 vehicles full of people – both locals and tourists – got stuck in two feet of snow in the afternoon of Monday as they tried to navigate the high-altitude mountain pass which connects Tawang to rest of India.

The Indian Army deployed three teams of the Baisakhi Brigade of the Blazing Sword Division to evacuate the people to safety. The teams were able to complete the operation by midnight even as temperatures were at sub-zero level working seven hours without a break at the height of 13,000 feet.

Soldiers were seen carrying many of those stranded on their backs.

All of those evacuated were brought to the rescue camp established at Jaswantgarh.


Indian Army saves people at Sela Pass in Tawang
(Photo: Facebook/@easterncomd)

Among the rescued were a one-and-a-half-year-old child with breathing difficulties and a 70-year-old tourist, the Indian Army said. A Medical Post at Ahirgarh helped critically ill patients with urgent medication before their evacuation.

This is not the first that such an evacuation has been organised at the treacherous terrain. Around the same time in March 2017, the Indian Army had evacuated 127 people trapped in the Pass following a blizzard. Among those rescued at the time were five foreign nationals from Japan, New Zealand and Bulgaria.