A Russian skier died while six others, including a local guide, were rescued as an avalanche stuck the ski slopes of Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir on Thursday, officials said.

The avalanche struck the Kongdoori slopes of Gulmarg at around 2 p.m., trapping several skiers under its debris, the officials said.

They said six Russian skiers and the guide were pulled out from the debris by rescuers.

One of the Russian skiers has died and six are undergoing treatment at a local hospital, the officials said, adding police personnel and a patrolling team of the Jammu and Kashmir administration were carrying out rescue-cum-search operations.

Helicopters were pressed into service for effective rescue operation and evacuation of the persons caught in the avalanche.

‚ÄúA collaborative effort between the Gulmarg Ski Patrol of Tourism Department and Police resulted in the successful rescue of a group comprising six Russian skiers and one local guide following an avalanche at the higher reaches of Gulmarg, known as Army Ridge,‚ÄĚ a government spokesperson said.

‚ÄúDespite the valiant efforts of the rescue team, one Russian skier tragically lost his life due to the avalanche,‚ÄĚ the spokesperson said.

Jammu and Kashmir Sports Council Secretary Nuzhat Gull said all athletes participating in the ongoing 4th Khelo India Winter Games in Gulmarg were safe.

‚ÄúAll Khelo India athletes are safe after the avalanche hit Khilanmarg area of Gulmarg… All the fixtures are being run as per schedule,‚ÄĚ Ms. Gull posted on X.

The Winter Games began on Wednesday and will conclude on Sunday.

A spokesman of the Sports Council said all precautionary measures were in place to ensure safety of the players.

National Conference leader Omar Abdullah, who was skiing in Gulmarg till Wednesday, prayed for the safety of the skiers.

‚ÄúWhile the details are still sketchy some skiers are reportedly missing after an avalanche was triggered in the area around Gulmarg. It appears the skiers were skiing off the piste or groomed slopes in the ‚Äėback country‚Äô.

‚ÄúDays like today remind us that while the skiing is fun, the fresh powder exhilarating & the visuals spectacular, skiing is not without its dangers & risk to lives. Praying that all the missing skiers are found alive & the reports of a casualty end up being unfounded,‚ÄĚ Mr. Abdullah said in a post on X.