10 Indian soldiers go missing after avalanche hits glacier


Ten Indian soldiers were feared buried in an avalanche that hit Siachen Glacier in the India-held portion of Kashmir on Wednesday, an army spokesman said.

The soldiers were hit while on duty at a post on the glacier at an altitude of 19,000 feet, Colonel S.D. Goswami said.

“In the early hours of today, 10 soldiers were hit by an avalanche on the northern Siachen Glacier,” he said.

An army statement said the post was being manned by a junior officer and nine soldiers when the avalanche struck.

“Rescue operations by specialised teams from army and air force are underway to rescue the soldiers. The rescue operations are being closely monitored from Leh and Udhampur,” the statement added.

The Siachen Glacier has been dubbed the world’s highest battlefield. Avalanches and landslides are common in the area during the winter and temperatures there can drop as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.

In January four soldiers were killed by an avalanche, while last year another four died when their vehicle was buried under an avalanche near Leh, the main city in the high-altitude region known as Ladakh. An estimated 8,000 troops have died on the glacier since 1984, almost all of them from avalanches, landslides, frostbite, altitude sickness or heart failure rather than combat.


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