11 killed in Kashmir avalanches

Srinagar, Jan 14: Four army soldiers, a BSF constable and six civilians were killed in multiple avalanches across Kashmir.

An army party was hit by an avalanche in the Machhil sector close to the Line of Control (LoC) on Monday night in which five army men were trapped under the snow. Rescue parties immediately reached the spot and an operation was started.

“We took out all the five army men buried under the snow while four of them succumbed,” Shriram Ambarker, SP, Kupwara said.

Similarly, a Border Security Force (BSF) constable was killed after an avalanche hit the force’s deployment on the Line of Control (LoC) in Naugam sector on Monday evening, the paramilitary force said on Tuesday.

The incident took place around 8.30 p.m. after which a search and rescue operation was launched, the BSF said.

Six out of seven BSF personnel deployed in the area were safely rescued but one constable was trapped and he could not be revived despite efforts, said the BSF.

Superintendent of Police, Ganderbal, Khalil Ahmad Paswal said that nine civilians were trapped in Ganderbal avalanche in which five of them succumbed and four were rescued. While two dead bodies were found on Monday night while as three of them were found on Tuesday.

The deceased civilians have been identified as Mohammad  Sadiq, Showkhat Ahmad, Ishtiiyaq Ahmad, Dawood Ahmad and Mohammad Akhbar Bhat.

Meanwhile, in another incident four members of a family were injured after avalanche hit Purana Tulail (PTL) area of Gurez sector on Monday evening. An official said that one of the injured persons succumbed to his injuries today morning. The deceased was identified as Abdul Rehman Lone of PTL.

He said that the injured were identified as Fatima, Nazir Ahmad and Fatima. They were being treated at a health facility in PTL.

Three residential houses and a cowshed were partially damaged in Bhat Mohalla area of Bagtore after minor avalanche hit the village yesterday, local sources said.

In another incident, three residential houses and a cowshed were damaged in Korakbal area of Gurez last night while in another incident two residential houses were partially damaged and six shops were completely damaged in Baduaab area of Tulail today morning.

In Ladakh region, Indian Army rescued stranded ‘Chadar’ trek tourists on Tuesday. “Multiple search and rescue columns of the Fire and Fury Corps were launched to rescue a group of tourists who were stranded in bad weather while undertaking the annual ‘Chadar Trek on the frozen Zanskar River in Ladakh,” the force said.

Responding swiftly to request received from the Union Territory administration, columns were launched from two directions to reach the tourists who were stuck at Niraq village along the Zanskar River.

Helicopters of the Army Aviation Corps were also pressed into service for the purpose.

Despite the inclement weather and narrow valleys of the Zanskar river, Army helicopters managed to land at a makeshift helipad in Niraq and inducted a column of Army personnel to coordinate the rescue operations.

Six tourists who were suffering from effects of frostbite and High Altitude Pulmonary Odema (HAPO) were evacuated by the helicopters to the Army medical facility in Leh.

“An Army Medical Officer was also inducted to provide immediate medical aid to the tourists. Medicines, emergency rations and warm clothing was also inducted by the helicopters,” said the force.

The Chadar Trek is an annual winter event in Ladakh popular among tourists wherein the trek is undertaken on the frozen Zanskar river over a period of four to five days, with staging halts in between.

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