Avalanches hit India army post, patrol in Kashmir; 10 killed

AP News
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Posted: Jan 26, 2017 5:49 AM
Avalanches hit India army post, patrol in Kashmir; 10 killed

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Ten Indian army soldiers were killed when avalanches hit a military post and a patrol along the highly militarized Line of Control that separates the Indian and Pakistani-held portions of the Himalayan region of Kashmir, the army said Thursday.

Indian army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said a massive overnight avalanche buried a military post manned by 10 soldiers in the Gurez sector. He said despite hostile weather, rescue operations were launched and an officer and six soldiers were rescued from the buried post. The bodies of three soldiers were recovered.

Kalia said another avalanche swept away an army patrol in the same area. Seven bodies have been recovered so far.

The army did not give the exact number of people in the patrol and said rescuers were searching for other missing soldiers.

"The area continues to receive heavy snowfall, but our coordinated rescue operations are in progress," Kalia 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.