Avalanche hits Army patrol in Siachen, six killed

Adil Akhzer
Siachen, known as the world's highest battlefield, is at an altitude of around 20,000 ft above sea level. (File photo)

Four soldiers and two civilian porters were killed after an Army patrol was hit by an avalanche at Siachen Glacier in Ladakh on Monday, Army officials said.

A senior defence official in Srinagar told The Indian Express that the avalanche hit Northern Siachen Glacier around 3 pm. “It was an Army patrol of eight personnel. The avalanche took place at a high altitude. The temperatures are very low in the area,” he said.

A search and rescue operation was launched, he said, and all efforts were made to trace the personnel. Avalanche Rescue Teams from nearby posts were rushed to the location.

All eight personnel were pulled out of the avalanche debris, and seven persons who were critically injured, accompanied by medical teams, were taken by helicopters to the nearest Military Hospital, the Srinagar-based defence spokesperson said. Despite their efforts, six persons succumbed to extreme hypothermia, including four soldiers and two civilian porters, he added.

Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed his grief over the demise of soldiers. "Deeply pained by the demise of soldiers and porters due to avalanche in Siachen. I salute their courage and service to the nation. My heartfelt condolences to their families," he said.

In 2016, 10 Army personnel were trapped in snow after a major avalanche struck the Army post in Northern Siachen Glacier, located at a height of 19,600 feet. None of them survived.