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Tue. 9:38 a.m.: Avalanche sweeps away tourists in northeast India; 7 killed

In this handout photo released by the Indian Army, soldiers clear snow from an avalanche near Nathu La mountain pass today in India's Sikkim state. An avalanche swept away a group of tourists today in the Himalayas in northeastern India, killing at least six and injuring 11 others, officials and news reports said. (Indian Army via AP)

NEW DELHI (AP) — An avalanche swept away a group of tourists in the Himalayas in northeastern India today, killing at least seven and injuring 11, officials said.

Army spokesperson Lt. Col Mahendra Rawat said rescuers pulled out at least 23 tourists from the snow and took them to a hospital for treatment.

India’s Border Roads Organization said the tourists were hit by the avalanche near the Nathu La mountain pass in Sikkim state. A video released by the Indian army showed rescuers digging through the snow to find an undetermined number of missing people swept away by the avalanche down a mountain slope.

Nathu La mountain pass is along the border with China and is a major tourist destination.

The ecologically sensitive Himalayan region, which has been severely affected by global warming, is prone to avalanches. Last year 27 trainee mountaineers were killed in an avalanche in the northern Uttarakhand region.

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