Friday 23 June 2017

Six killed as avalanches hit Indian army post and patrol in Kashmir

The Kashmir region has been experiencing heavy snow for several consecutive days (AP)
The Kashmir region has been experiencing heavy snow for several consecutive days (AP)

Six Indian army soldiers were killed when avalanches hit a military post and a patrol along the highly militarised Line of Control that separates the Indian and Pakistani-held portions of the Himalayan region of Kashmir, an army spokesman said.

Colonel Rajesh Kalia said a massive overnight avalanche buried a military post manned by 10 soldiers in the Gurez sector.

He added that, despite hostile weather, rescue operations were launched and one officer and six soldiers had been rescued from the buried post. The bodies of three other soldiers were recovered.

Col Kalia said another avalanche swept away an army patrol in the same area. Three bodies were recovered and rescuers were searching for other missing soldiers.

"The area continues to receive heavy snowfall, but our co-ordinated rescue operations are in progress," he said.

Officials evacuated dozens of residents from high-risk areas after authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir issued avalanche warning in many parts of the region, especially along the de facto frontier.

The heavy snowfall also has disrupted power and communication lines in the region.

On Wednesday, four members of a family and an Indian army officer were killed when they were buried by two separate avalanches.

Avalanches and landslides are common in Kashmir and have caused some of the heaviest tolls for the Indian and Pakistani armies camped near the Line of Control.

Last year, at least 14 soldiers were killed in two avalanches in the region.

In 2012, a massive avalanche in the Pakistan-controlled part killed 140 people, including 129 soldiers.

AP

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