Buses carrying pilgrims washed away

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Bengaluru: Fifty-seven pilgrims from Karnataka had a narrow esc­ape from the fury of the floods in Uttarakhand when their parked buses were swept away in the foothills of Gowrikund. The passengers who were staying in a nearby lodge are stranded in Gowrigaon and awaiting rescue.
The pilgrims had hired the buses from Agarwal Travels in New Delhi to go to Kedarnath on June 15. After dropping the pilgrims at a lodge in Gowrikund, the buses had been parked. An hour later they were swept away in the flood.
The passengers who are from Chennapattna, Bengaluru and Belgaum were to leave Kedarnath on June 16. “We saw our buses being pulled into the river in front of our eyes. An SUV we had hired in New Delhi slipped into the river along with the buses.
We hear that 800 vehicles were washed away in the flood waters. Luckily, all our luggage and rations were in the lodge and we are surviving on that,” Narayan Shenoy, a tour operator from Mangalore told Deccan Chronicle.
Altogether, about 500 pilgrims have been stranded in Gowrikund for the last one week, and about 150 pilgrims are from Karnataka. The group of 57 is waiting to be rescued by air and hope every day that it will be their turn next. They say the stranded pilgrims are themselves hampering operations by not being disciplined.
“The sorties which otherwise took five minutes to airlift stra­n­ded people, are taking more than 20 minutes due to mismanagement of stranded persons. On Thursday the Air Force was able to pick up only 314 pilgrims from Gowrikund. At present we are taking shelter in a house in Gowrigaon which is located two miles from Gowrikund,” Shenoy said.

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