Siachen: Avalanche hits Indian Army team, six dead

Siachen: Avalanche hits Indian Army team, six dead

Avalanche (Image for representation)

Eight personnel operating in the Northern Sector of Siachen Glacier at an altitude of 19,000 feet were hit by an avalanche on Monday.

Avalanche Rescue Teams from the nearby posts were rushed to the location for rescue work. All eight personnel were pulled out of the avalanche debris, but despite the best efforts of the rescuers, six succumbed to extreme hypothermia. The deceased include four soldiers and two civilian porters.

The incident took place around 3.30 PM in the Northern Glacier whose altitude varies between 18,000-20,000 feet. It hit the team when it was proceeding to rescue someone who wasn't well.

Avalanches are commonplace on the Siachen glacier. One of the saddest incidents happened in February 2016, when ten men from Madras Regiment were killed when a huge wall of ice hit them. Nine men died on the spot while the tenth man Lance Naik K Hanumanthappa succumbed to his injuries in a military hospital in Delhi.

Notwithstanding such mishaps, around 3,000 soldiers are being deployed round the clock on the glacier where temperatures can drop to minus 60 degrees in winters as India dominates all the strategically important heights.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh recently declared opening up a part of the glacier – at a much lower altitude of 11,000 feet – for civilian tourists.