One Army jawan was killed and five others feared dead on Wednesday after an avalanche hit an Army patrol that was deployed in Shipki La along the India-China border in Kinnaur district.
According to Army sources, soldiers were patrolling at Namgia Dogri near Shipki La, when an avalanche happened. One soldier, Rakesh Kumar, who was rescued succumbed to his injuries later, while five soldiers remained buried under the snow till Wednesday night, said Shiv Mohan Singh Saini, SDM of Pooh sub-division under which Namgia Dogri falls.
“Five ITBP personnel were also trapped in the avalanche, but they have been rescued,” the SDM said. The deceased jawan was identified as Rakesh Kumar (41) of Ghumarpur village in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh, Kinnaur SP Sakshi Verma told PTI, adding that the jawans belonged to the 7 JAK Rifles unit of the Army.
Kumar’s body was taken to the Pooh civil hospital for autopsy. Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Gopal Chand said the avalanche occurred at around 11 am. According to Army sources, 16 jawans were out to repair a damaged water supply line when the avalanche struck.
An Army spokesperson said the search-and-rescue operation would go on till the last man was retrieved. A team of about 150 persons, including Army and ITBP personnel, is searching for the trapped jawans, along with the police. Confirming the incident, Defence PRO Amit Gaur told PTI that the Army would issue an official statement on Thursday.
(With PTI inputs)