Wednesday 17 July 2019, 06:24 AM
16 army soldiers killed in north Kashmir avalanches
By IANS | Bharat Defence Kavach | Publish Date: 2/23/2012 12:00:00 AM

Srinagar: Sixteen Indian Army soldiers were killed in two avalanches overnight in two districts of north Kashmir, an army officer said Thursday. "Thirteen bodies have been recovered so far from the avalanche debris in Dawar (Gurez) area of Bandipora district.

Three soldiers are still believed to be under the debris. Efforts are on to locate them," a defence spokesman told IANS. A massive rescue operation was started after an avalanche struck the workshop of the army s brigade headquarters in Dawar (Gurez) overnight.

Thirteen army soldiers were rescued alive during the rescue operation. They have since been shifted to hospital for treatment as many of them have sustained injuries in the avalanche.

Two dozen army vehicles have also been damaged by the avalanche and around 4 barracks destroyed. In another avalanche that struck an army camp in Ganderbal district s Sonamarg hill station overnight, three soldiers including a junior commissioned officer of the Territorial Army died.

In a third avalanche that struck the Ramwari area of Ganderbal district, dozens of summer hutments of nomadic Bakerwals (goatherds) used during the grazing season were destroyed.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Defence Minister A.K. Antony have expressed grief over the loss of lives. Only last week, a major tragedy was averted when an avalanche blocked the passage of water in the Sindh stream in Sonamarg. A glacial lake was formed by the accumulated water.

As the authorities prepared to carry out controlled blasting of the avalanche, the accumulated water finally managed its way through thereby averting major flash floods in the low-lying areas of Ganderbal district.

Antony condoles soldiers'' deaths

New Delhi : Defence Minister A.K. Antony Thursday expressed "profound grief" at the loss of "precious" lives of army personnel in two separate avalanches that hit Sonamarg and Gurez in Jammu and Kashmir Wednesday night.

In a message, Antony said his thoughts were with the families and friends of the killed armymen in this hour of tragedy.  He wished speedy recovery of those injured in the natural disaster, and promised relief and rehabilitation measures to the affected families.

At least 16 armymen were killed in two avalanches that hit Sonamarg and the Brigade Headquarters at forward post at Gurez when they were in the line of duty.  Several others were also injured in the disaster.

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11 soldiers killed in avalanches, Antony mourns loss of Army lives

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