An avalanche hit southwest China’s Tibet Autonomous Region at 19:50 LT on Tuesday, January 17, 2023, burying multiple vehicles and killing at least 28 people as of January 20. The avalanche occurred on a section of road between Pai village in Mainling county and the Doxong La tunnel in Medog county, leaving people trapped in their vehicles as snow engulfed the exit of the tunnel.
53 people were rescued following the avalanche, with 5 of them being seriously injured, according to official Chinese state media. Local authorities sent 1 348 rescue workers and 236 pieces of equipment to help excavate a passage of 7.5 km (4.66 miles).
The search and rescue operation came to an end at 17:30 LT on January 20, Xinhua reported.
The local government also deployed 229 vehicles, 2 951 items of rescue equipment, and 256 professional rescue personnel. More than 550 relief items, including tents, stretchers, quilts and cotton-padded clothes, were sent to support the rescue teams.
A local villager told the Global Times that most people traveling at the time of the accident were Tibetan people returning to their hometowns for the Lunar New Year.
The avalanche was triggered by powerful winds and rising temperatures, according to the emergency rescue headquarters.
The city of Nyingchi, which is located at an elevation of about 3 040 meters (9 970 feet) and about five hours’ drive from the regional capital, Lhasa, initiated a level-III natural disaster emergency response on Wednesday due to the significant precipitation in the high-altitude mountainous areas of Nyingchi which triggered multiple avalanches.
In October 2022, another avalanche in the Himalayas killed at least four people and several others went missing after a group of 41 mountaineers was hit on a mountain peak located in the Gangotri range of the Garhwal Himalayas.
1 Tibet avalanche: Death toll hits 28 after drivers buried alive in deep snow – Mirror – January 21, 2023
2 Avalanche in Tibet kills 28, rescue work completed – Xinhua – January 20, 2023
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