12 Indian Army Soldiers Killed in Kashmir Avalanches, Seven Feared Dead

  on February 23 2012 6:29 AM

India
India Border Security Force (BSF) soldiers lined up during a wreath laying ceremony of their colleague, who died after being buried under an avalanche debris, inside their base camp on the outskirts of Srinagar, India, Thursday, Jan 25, 2012. Photo: PA

Twelve soldiers of the Indian Army were killed after being trapped in avalanches that hit two army camps in Kashmir, an army official told the media Thursday.

The avalanches struck the army bases in Ganderbal and Bandipora districts of the Kashmir Valley on Tuesday night, around 9 p.m., Press Trust of India reported.

Twenty-nine soldiers got buried under the avalanche in Bandipora district from which nine bodies have been recovered and 13 soldiers pulled out alive. However, seven other army personnel are still missing and feared dead, according to the Army spokesman Colonel Garewal.

The other avalanche to hit the army camp at Ganderbal district killed three soldiers.

An avalanche warning in Kashmir had been in effect for the areas located at and above 6,000 feet from sea level, based on inputs provided by the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE). However, defence spokesman Lt-Colonel JS Brar said that the Bandipora’s camp area had no previous records of avalanches.

The stormy winter conditions and heavy snowfall has triggered avalanches across the world. Three skiers were killed in an avalanche near the Stevens Pass area in the Cascade Mountains in rural eastern King County, Wa., U.S., on Sunday.

In Japan early this month, three people were found in a state of cardiac arrest after they were caught in an avalanche in Senboku, Akita prefecture, while taking a bedrock bath at a hot spring inn, according to Reuters.

Another massive avalanche hit houses in the remote mountain village of Restelica, southern Kosovo, in which only a five-year-old girl could be rescued; seven other members of her family were killed.

Around 29 people have died in avalanches so far this year in Badakhshan province, north of Kabul, Afghanistan, the Afghan National Disaster Management Agency reports.

The recent two avalanches in Kashmir were not the the first incident of the season to claim lives of army professionals. An officer of the India Border Security Force (BSF) was buried dead, while five army men and another border guard went missing in January when an avalanche hit an army group clearing a mountain road in north Kashmir.

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