SRINAGAR: Five days after five army men were trapped under snow heavy after coming under snow avalanches at two places along the Line of Control (LoC) in Jammu and Kashmir, body of one of the missing soldiers has been recovered.
Defence spokesman in Srinagar, Colonel Rajesh Kalia said concerted efforts of the specially equipped army’s Avalanche Rescue Teams (ARTs), which have continued the rescue operation despite the inhospitable terrain and weather conditions at two places along the LoC – Naugam sector in Kupwara and Gurez sector in Bandipora, have led to the recovery of mortal remains of a soldier in Naugam sector yesterday.
The deceased soldier was identified as 19-year-old Sepoy Koushal Singh. He hailed from village Batla Deonia of Samba district in Jammu and Kashmir and had joined the army last year.
He is survived by his parents and siblings.
“In this hour of grief, the Army stands in solidarity with the bereaved family and remains committed to their dignity and well being,” Kalia said.
Sepoy Koushal alongwith another soldier, who were part of an operational team serving in the formidable heights along the LoC in Naugam sector, had got swept away during a snow slide after heavy snowfall on last Tuesday.
On the same day, three more army men manning a forward post in Kanzalwan sub-sector of Gurez in north Kashmir’s Bandipora district were trapped under snow after coming under avalanche.
Sources said army’s ARTs and experts of Army’s High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) are engaged in massive search and rescue operation at both the places to rescue the soldiers trapped under snow.
The upper reaches of the Valley, especially the areas close to LoC, experienced heavy snowfall early this week.
Sources said specially trained sniffer dogs too have been pressed into the service to help the army teams in search and rescue operations.
An army official said search operation is being hampered by the inclement weather and poor visibility.
“However, whenever the weather conditions improve, the ARTs and experts of HAWS resume the search and rescue operation at both the places,” he said.
The army official said chances of survival of four soldiers trapped in snow are very remote.
In January this year, 20 soldiers including four officers were killed in snow avalanches in Gurez, Machil and Uri sectors, close to the LoC in north Kashmir.