CHANDIGARH: One soldier lost his life and five others of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles unit of the army are still missing after heavy snow triggered an avalanche on the Sino-India border at Namgia Dogri in Kinnaur district of Himachal Pradesh today.
Sources said that around sixteen jawans of the 136 Brigade were patrolling between two posts at Namgia Dogri in the Shipki La sector along the Indo-China border, which is at a height of around 12,000 feet and is around 300 kilometers from Shimla, when the avalanche came around 11 am. Six of them got trapped in the avalanche.
One jawan was rescued and sent to Pooh for medical aid but died on the way to the hospital.
Another patrol party of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was patrolling the area, where five of its personnel got injured but were rescued.
The avalanche was triggered by fierce snow blizzards in the area.
A spokesperson of the Army said the search operation would go on till the last person was found. A team of about 150 persons is searching for the trapped jawans.
Sources said that rescue operations were started after the local police and jawans of ITBP were sent by the district administration to this high altitude area. An NDRM team was also dispatched.
Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Gopal Chand said, "The body of one jawan has been recovered, whereas five bodies are yet to be traced.’’
Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that the State Government would provide all possible assistance to the Army to ensure speedy relief and rehabilitation work. He said that the Deputy Commissioner of Kinnaur has been directed to keep close liaison with the Army and ITBP Authorities.
For the past few days, the tribal districts of Kinnaur and Lahual Spiti in the hill state have been witnessing heavy snowfall. The Indian Meteorological Department has predicted more snow and heavy rain for the area over the next two days. Also the Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (HPSDMA) had issued an advisory asking residents in five districts to stay away from avalanche-prone slopes. The advisory came after the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) issued an avalanche warning for various parts of Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti, Shimla, Kinnaur and Kullu districts, where heavy snowfall is expected in the coming days.