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Friday, January 17, 2020

Four soldiers, five civilians killed in three avalanches in Kashmir

Machil avalanche: Out of five soldiers trapped under the avalanche, one was rescued after the Army launched rescue operations. He was injured and is being treated at a local military facility,

By: Express Web Desk | New Delhi | Updated: January 14, 2020 2:03:14 pm
J&K: Three soldiers killed, one missing as avalanche hits army post in Machil Efforts are on to trace one missing soldier. (File)

Three Army soldiers, one Border Security Force (BSF) jawan and five civilians have been killed in three separate avalanches in Jammu and Kashmir since Monday night, PTI reported. While three soldiers were killed and one went missing after an avalanche hit an Army post along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir’s Machil sector Tuesday, a BSF jawan was killed and six others were rescued after an avalanche along the Line of Control (LoC) in Kashmir’s Naugam sector at 8:30 PM on Monday, officials said on Tuesday.

Another avalanche struck a village in Gagangir area of Ganderbal district Monday night in which five civilians were killed while four others were rescued, police said.

In Machil, out of five soldiers trapped under the avalanche, one was rescued after the Army launched rescue operations. He was injured and is being treated at a local military facility, PTI quoted defence source as saying.

Efforts are on to trace the missing soldier.

In Naugam, a search and rescue operation was launched immediately, a senior officer of the border guarding force said. “Out of the seven troops deployed in the area, six were safely rescued but one constable trapped could not be revived even after much effort,” he said.

In Ganderbal, the avalanche struck on Monday night when the five civilians were passing by the area. The bodies of the five have been recovered, the police said.

On December 4, 2018, four Armymen were killed in two separate avalanches in Kupwara and Bandipora districts along the Line of Control (LOC) in the Valley. “In two separate incidents, an avalanche hit a post in Tangdhar sector and an Army patrol was hit by a blizzard in Gurez sector on December 3,” Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia said in a statement. “The rescue teams managed to locate and retrieve all personnel… Despite best efforts by the rescue and medical teams, three Army personnel in Tangdhar sector and one Army personnel in Gurez sector succumbed.”

On the other hand, on November 30 last year, two Armymen, including a Junior Commissioned Officer, were killed after an avalanche hit an Army patrol in Southern Siachen Glacier in Ladakh. This was for the second time that an avalanche occurred in Siachen in the past two weeks. Earlier on November 18, four Indian Army personnel and two civilian porters were killed in an avalanche in the northern part of the Siachen Glacier. The Siachen Glacier at the height of around 20,000 ft in the Karakoram range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world where the soldiers have to battle frostbite and high winds.

Avalanches and landslides are common at the glacier during winters with temperatures often dropping to as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.

This is a developing story. More details are awaited.

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