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10 soldiers buried in avalanche in Siachen

The avalanche hit a high altitude post situated at 19000 feet in Northern Glacier sector in Ladakh region in wee hours of this morning.

By: Express News Service | Srinagar | Updated: February 4, 2016 9:12 am
Siachen, avalanche, siachen avalanche, avalanche news,Siachen Glacier (Source: Google Maps) The avalanche hit a high altitude post situated at 19000 feet in Northern Glacier sector in Ladakh region in wee hours of this morning. (Source: Google Maps)

One junior commissioned officer (JCO) and nine jawans of the Army’s 19 Madras battalion have been trapped after an avalanche struck their post in Siachen early Wednesday morning. Rescue operations are on by the Army and the Air Force.

The post is at 19,600 feet on the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) — the border with Pakistan at Siachen glacier — in the vicinity of Bana post.

Spokesperson for the Ministry of Defence, Northern Command, S D Goswami said the rescue operations were being closely monitored from Leh and Udhampur.

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The maximum tenure of any soldier on the northern glacier is three months, while for some tougher posts, such as Bana post, it is restricted to 30 days. Units deployed on the northern glacier are rotated after a six-month stint.

Siachen is the world’s highest active battlefield, contested by India and Pakistan since 1984 when India launched Operation Meghdoot. In April 1984, the Indian Army moved in to pre-empt a move by the Pakistan Army to occupy the glacier. Indian Army currently occupies the full Siachen glacier, while Pakistani forces are deployed at the lower heights of Saltoro ridge.

Since the start of Operation Meghdoot, India has lost 33 officers, 54 JCOs and 782 jawans due to climatic conditions, and environmental and other factors at Siachen. Last November, an officer of 3 Ladakh Scouts died after he was buried in an avalanche on the southern glacier.

An Army officer who has done two stints at northern Siachen explained that avalanches usually take place due to accumulation of snow and are triggered by morning sunlight. In other cases, when the slope of accumulated snow is between 60 to 80 degrees, the instability leads to an avalanche.

The cause of the current avalanche is not yet known.

The Army has a unit of the Snow Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) in Jammu and Kashmir, with several observatories at various locations. SASE regularly issues warnings and alerts to the Army formations and units deployed in high altitude areas in Siachen and along the Line of Control. Most of these warnings are about avalanches, snowstorms and landslides. It is not yet clear whether any warning was issued in the area before Wednesday’s avalanche.

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  1. C
    Chander Pal
    Feb 3, 2016 at 12:57 pm
    My prayers for their safety
    1. M
      Mohammed Arif
      Feb 3, 2016 at 3:35 pm
      Real heroes of our country, pray for your safe return. We Indians are proud of you.
      1. K
        kushal kumar
        Feb 4, 2016 at 1:17 am
        The details in the news report are saddening. However, this Vedic astrology writer had hinted to a mishap of the kind in article “ 2016 – a woeful year for India with cheer at the end” published on 18 January 2016 in online magazine thesop. The sum and substance of the hint was that a landslide or any other mishap involving defense and security was likely to take place during February and March 2016 in Northern India including Himalayan belt in North. Just reproducing the related text of prediction from the article: “ February and March 2016 seem to be grim for a variety of concerns. (among others) landslides , defense and security concerns are likely in Northern India including Himalayan belt in North. Sikkim- Tibet may have problem of the nature described”.
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          1. Sanat Sachdeva
            Feb 15, 2016 at 12:18 am
            bhos di ke
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