0CFE69074D054EC786164AC7D52B6357
London, United Kingdom

WeatherBug® Your Weather Just Got Better™

Change Units: °F | °C

Weather News

London, United Kingdom

Pakistani Troops Dig For 135 Missing in Avalanche

April 08, 2012

By Zarar Khan, The Associated Press

ISLAMABAD - Rescue workers used bulldozers Sunday to dig through huge banks of snow following a massive avalanche a day earlier that engulfed a military complex and buried at least 135 people, most of them soldiers, in a mountain battleground close to the Indian border.

More than 24 hours after the disaster at the entrance to the Siachen Glacier, no bodies have yet been recovered, military officials said on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue.

The army said 240 troops and civilians worked at the scene Sunday with the aid of sniffer dogs and heavy machinery, some of which was flown in on military aircraft. They struggled to dig through some 80 feet of snow, boulders, mud and slush that buried the rear headquarters building in the Gayari sector early Saturday morning.

Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited the site Sunday to supervise rescue operations.

The military said in a statement that at least 124 soldiers from the 6 Northern Light Infantry Battalion and 11 civilian contractors were missing.

The accident in Siachen, which is on the northern tip of the divided Kashmir region claimed by both India and Pakistan, highlighted the risks of deploying troops to one of the most inhospitable places on earth.

The thousands of soldiers from both nations stationed there brave viciously cold temperatures, altitude sickness, high winds and isolation for months at a time. Troops have been posted at elevations of up to 22,000 feet and have skirmished intermittently since 1984, though the area has been quiet since a cease-fire in 2003. The glacier is known as the world`s highest battlefield.

The headquarters in Gayari, situated at around 15,000 feet, is the main gateway through which troops and supplies pass on their way to other more remote outposts in the sector. It is situated in a valley between two high mountains, close to a military hospital, according to an officer who was stationed there in 2003.

More soldiers have died from the weather than combat on the glacier, which was uninhabited before troops moved there.

Conflict there began in 1984 when India occupied the heights of the 49-mile-long glacier, fearing Pakistan wanted to claim the territory. Pakistan also deployed its troops. Both armies remain entrenched despite the cease-fire, costing the poverty-stricken countries many millions of dollars each year.

Pakistan and India have fought three wars since the partition of the subcontinent on independence from Britain in 1947.

---

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

What do you think of this story?
Click here for comments or suggestions.

Recent Stories:

News submitted by WeatherBug users

Backyard Blog

News, observations and weather commentary

Photo Gallery

View images of recent storms and seasonal weather.

User Videos

WeatherBug community news and weather videos.

Weather Groups

Discuss severe weather and regional storm activity.

Featured Cameras

Live Camera from a random camera within the United States
View live images and time-lapse video animation from local WeatherBug weather cameras.

WeatherBug Featured Content

Green Living

Green Living

You too can help save our planet and put money back in your wallet. Learn how you can take the first steps to reduce your environmental impact, including driving green, easy ways you can conserve water, and energy saving tips. To learn more and discover the benefits of going green, visit WeatherBug’s green living section. More >

Sponsored Content