At least 10 troopers belonging to Indian army were killed after avalanches hit their post and a patrol near Line of Control (LoC), officials said Thursday.
The avalanches struck Wednesday night at two places in frontier Gurez area of Bandipora district, about 165 km north of Srinagar city the summer capital of Indian-controlled Kashmir.
According to Indian army officials, one officer and six troopers were rescued alive, while search for others missing in the avalanche was still underway.
“Yesterday an avalanche struck an army camp in Gurez. Immediately a rescue operation in the extreme bad weather and snowfall was carried out during which we pulled out one junior commissioned officer and six soldiers alive,” Indian army spokesman Col Rajesh Kalia told Xinhua.
“We have also retrieved bodies of three troopers from the spot.”
Officials said 10 personnel were present inside the post when it was hit by huge mound of snow.
Kalia said another avalanche swept away an army patrol in the area.
“In the same area an army patrol moving towards the post went missing. Initially three bodies were retrieved and four more were pulled out in the afternoon during the ongoing search operation,” he said.
Officials said they were ascertaining details about the number of men in the patrol party.
Upper reaches and plains of Indian-controlled Kashmir are experiencing heavy to moderate snowfall since Tuesday.
On Wednesday four members of a family were killed after their house collapsed due to heavy snowfall in the area. Besides, one trooper was killed, while several others were rescued alive in injured condition after an avalanche hit their camp in Sonamarg area of the adjacent district.
Authorities have evacuated dozens of families from avalanche prone areas following warnings issued by administration in wake of continuous snowfall.
Last year, 10 Indian troopers were buried under an avalanche on Siachen Glacier near LoC in the region. It took several days for the military to retrieve their bodies.
LoC is a de facto border that divides Kashmir into India and Pakistan controlled parts.
Kashmir has a rugged terrain. Landslides and avalanches are often triggered from its mountains during frequent rains and heavy snowfall.