Two Army jawans killed in Siachen glacier avalanche

TNN Bureau. Updated: 12/1/2019 12:25:35 PM Front Page

JAMMU: In third such incident in as many weeks, two Army personnel were killed on Saturday after an avalanche hit their patrol at an altitude of about 18,000 feet in southern Siachen glacier in the Union Territory of Ladakh.
“An Army patrol operating at an altitude of approximately 18,000 feet in Southern Siachen Glacier was hit by an avalanche during the early hours of Saturday,” Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia said in a statement.
He said an Avalanche Rescue Team (ART) following the patrol immediately rushed and managed to locate and pull out all members of the patrol.
Army helicopters too were simultaneously pressed into service to evacuate the avalanche victims, he said.
Despite the best efforts by the medical teams, two Army personnel, however, perished in the avalanche, the officer said.
The identity of the martyr soldiers was not disclosed by the Army.
This is the third such incident in past three weeks in Jammu and Kashmir and for the second time that an avalanche occurred in Siachen in the past two weeks.
On November 18, four Indian Army personnel and two civilian porters were killed after they were hit by an avalanche in northern part of the Siachen Glacier.
A group of eight persons, including six Army personnel, were struck by the avalanche at an altitude of 19,000 ft. The Avalanche Rescue Teams from nearby posts were rushed to the location and pulled out all of them out to the snow. Seven individuals were critically injured in the incident and among them six persons--four soldiers and two civilian porters -- succumbed to extreme hypothermia.
Similarly, on November 11, two Army porters were killed after a snow avalanche hit the Line of Control (LoC) in Baramulla district. Both of them were working at the Indian Army’s Himmat post when the avalanche had hit them near the famous ski resort Gulmarg.
The Siachen Glacier at the height of around 20,000 ft in the Karakoram range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world where the soldiers have to battle frostbite and high winds.
Avalanches and landslides are common at the glacier during the winters and temperatures can drop to as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.
In a similar unfortunate incident as Saturday’s, 10 jawans were buried in an avalanche in Siachen in February 2016. Lance Naik Hanamanthappa, who was rescued after being buried in snow for six days, later passed away at a hospital in Delhi.
On a visit to Ladakh last month, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had announced the reopening of the glacier for tourists.
Both India and Pakistan have deployed soldiers on Siachen. It is said that more soldiers have died from the inhospitable conditions than in combat.
In 2012, Islamabad declared that 129 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians were killed in a massive avalanche in Gayari sector near the Siachen glacier.

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