Avalanches kill 4 family members, Indian soldier in Kashmir

AP News
Posted: Jan 25, 2017 3:44 AM

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Four members of a family and an Indian soldier were killed Wednesday when they were buried by two separate avalanches in the Himalayan region of Kashmir, officials said.

Police officer Syed Javaid Mujtaba Gillani said a home crumpled under the weight of heavy snow in the Gurez area, killing four people. He said one family member was rescued.

Indian army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said a soldier was killed and scores of others were rescued after an avalanche hit army barracks in the Sonmarg area.

Gillani said authorities have issued a "high danger" avalanche warning in many parts of the region, especially along the heavily militarized Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

Officials said the heavy snowfall has disrupted power and communication lines in Indian-held Kashmir.

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Avalanches and landslides are common in Kashmir and have caused some of the heaviest tolls for the Indian and Pakistani armies camped near the de facto frontier dividing their territories.

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

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