New Delhi (CNN) Seven tourists were killed and 13 others injured in a massive avalanche in northeastern India’s Sikkim state, local police said Tuesday.
The military said in a statement to CNN that the incident occurred at around 11:10 am local time.
The military said at least 20 people were rescued alive after several vehicles heading for the Natto La mountain pass were hit by snow.
Senior police official Tenzing Luden Lipcha told CNN that some of the survivors are in critical condition and rescue operations are underway.
The avalanche occurred near Nattu-la mountain pass and hit a road connecting Nattu-la with the state capital, Gangtok.
Lipcha told CNN the avalanches were unusual for this time of year, blaming unseasonal rain and snow in the area.
The military said another 350 tourists and 80 vehicles were rescued after snow washed away the roads.
Kavita Agarwal, a traveler from Delhi, told Reuters that the police had warned tourists not to visit a lake on their way to the Nattu La pass because of bad weather.
“Disappointed by the avalanche in Sikkim. Condolences to those who lost loved ones,” Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter.
“I hope the injured recover soon. Rescue operations are underway and all possible assistance is being provided to those affected.”
“Infuriatingly humble alcohol fanatic. Unapologetic beer practitioner. Analyst.”