Afghan rescue teams search for avalanche survivors

Afghan rescue workers fear that dozens of people were still buried under snow.

Afghan rescue teams search for avalanche survivors

Afghan rescue workers searched for survivors for the third day on Wednesday in an avalanche-stricken mountain pass, fearing that dozens of people were still buried under snow.

Days of heavy snow triggered avalanches that engulfed the 2.6 km (1.6 mile) Soviet-built Salang tunnel, the main route across the Hindu Kush mountain range, connecting the Indian subcontinent to the Central Asia.

General Mohammad Rajab, head of the Kabul-Salang highway, said nearly 100 people had been killed in avalanches and more than 100 others injured.

"The rescue operation is still ongoing, and the death toll may rise as we dig out dozens of other frozen bodies," Rajab told Reuters from Salang Pass. "There are many other cars swept away ... by avalanches and we try to rescue if anyone is still alive."

A Reuters reporting team at the scene saw survivors inside a passenger bus that was swept away into the steep gorge, shouting for help. Several small cars and at least two buses could be seen deep into the gorge.

Afghan Defence Minister Abdul Rahim Wardak said 3,000 people had been trapped in vehicles along the mountain pass at 3,400 meters (11,000) feet. More than 2,500 people have been rescued while scores of other people were still buried under the snow.

Nearly a 1,000 Afghan troops had helped dig a footpath through snow alongside miles of stranded cars.

Passengers who could escape on foot were walking out, while troops and healthy passengers carried the injured, the elderly and children for miles on their backs.
 

Reuters

Last Mod: 10 Şubat 2010, 15:13
Add Comment