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100 Pakistani troops buried in Siachen avalanche

Saturday April 07, 2012 06:00:33 PM, IANS

Islamabad: At least 100 Pakistani soldiers were buried Saturday in an avalanche in Kashmir's Siachen region, the Pakistani army said.

The avalanche hit a military camp near the Siachen glacier in the Karakoram branch of the Himalayas where thousands of Pakistani and Indian troops confront each other.

BBC, quoting Pakistan army spokesman Major General Athar Abbas, reported that some bodies had been recovered. But Abbas did not say how many troops survived the avalanche.

Expressing his shock over the loss of lives of soldiers of the Pakistan Army, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said the incident in no way would undermine the high morale of soldiers and officers, the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) reported.

Gilani was in constant contact with the authorities concerned regarding the rescue operation, the news agency said.

Earlier, local media reports in Pakistan said the incident took place at around 6 a.m. Saturday when an avalanche hit an army camp on Siachen Glacier, the second longest glacier in a non-polar area, Xinhua reported.

Some reports suggested that as many as 130 soldiers were buried under the avalanche, which struck the base in Gayari district. The troops are from the Northern Light Infantry regiment, BBC reported.

The Pakistani military says its "priority is to save lives", and helicopters, sniffer dogs and troops have been sent to the area to help with the rescue.

Maj Gen Abbas said it was too early to say how many of the soldiers had survived the avalanche.

According to state-run PTV, the buried include a battalion commander.

Weather conditions in the area are said to be good.

The Siachen glacier is known as the world's highest battlefield with soldiers deployed at elevations of up to 6,700 metres.




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