10 soldiers missing in Siachen avalanche mishap are dead

     
February 4, 2016

NEW DELHI: The Army said on Thursday that the chances of finding the 10 soldiers trapped by a massive avalanche at the Siachen Glacier on Wednesday are "very remote".

"It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty," the Army said in a statement. However, the rescue operations are continuing.

Expressing his grief on the Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said: "Demise of soldiers in Siachen is very tragic. I salute the brave soldiers who gave their lives to the nation. Condolences to their families."

The 10 soldiers of an army post, located at an altitude of 19,600 feet, were hit by a massive avalanche in the early hours Wednesday. Rescue operations by specialized teams of the army and the air force continued for the second day on Thursday amid fears that they may be dead.

Snow cutters and specialised equipment were flown into Leh to reinforce the rescue efforts.

Rescue teams were braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors.

"It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty," Lt Gen D S Hooda, Army Commander, Northern Command, said.

Director-General of Military Operations Lt Gen Ranbir Singh had declined his Pakistani counterpart's offer for help in rescuing Indian soldiers buried under snow when an avalanche hit their post. He said all necessary resources were being used. Pakistan's DGMO Maj Gen Amir Riaz had called up earlier in the day on Thursday and offered help.

The Siachen Glacier is located in Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas along the disputed India-Pakistan line of control. At 76 km, it is the longest glacier in the Karakoram and second longest in the world's non-polar areas. The altitude ranges from 5,753 m (18,875 ft) to 3,620 m (11,875 ft). The glacier and all its passes are under the control of India. Pakistani soldiers are positioned away west of Saltoro Ridge.

The Indian Army base camp in Siachen is the world’s highest and coldest war zone. The soldiers guard the heights and keep away Pakistani forces down below from claiming the glacier. The sun doesn’t appear in the region. Temperatures usually dip well below minus 50 °C. Siachen has now a helipad called Sonam, 21,000 feet above sea level, the highest in the world, to bring supplies for the personnel. Soldiers fall prey to sudden avalanches and blizzards rather than to the shelling from enemy side. R.I.P!

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