SRINAGAR: Five persons were killed and six others are trapped in 20 ft deep snow after a snow avalanche hit two trucks in the Khardung La area of Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir on Friday.
An army official said two trucks along with 10 civilians were buried under snow after a snow avalanche hit the two trucks at Khardungla Top in Ladakh at around 7.45 am today.
He said both the trucks and people travelling in them were buried under 20 feet of snow.
The upper reaches of Kashmir and Ladakh have received heavy snowfall this winter and Weather department has forecast five days more snowfall from Saturday. Immediately after the avalanche struck, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) pressed its men and machinery into service to rescue the people trapped in the snow.
"Army, J&K police, Army and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel also rushed to the spot and assisted in the search and rescue operations," the official said.
He said army men nearby units including South Pullu and North Pullu were also moved to the incident site.
"Besides, the Army Aviation helicopters were also pressed into service to move the highly trained avalanche rescue teams of the Army from Siachen base camp and North Pullu," the official said.
These rescue teams, he said, equipped with specialised avalanche rescue equipment, medical equipment and avalanche rescue dogs, are engaged in the rescue operation.
The Army Aviation helicopters also moved the Deep Search Radars to the location to detect trapped people through the snow.
The official said the rescue teams have so far recovered four bodies from the snow. "Besides, mangled pieces of one of the truck were also found on the steep slopes below the road," he said.
The rescue operation to trace out the six missing persons is going on.
"Since the runout zone of the avalanche is approx 1100 metres down the steep hillside, the rescue operations may take some time," the official said.
The medical teams including doctors and nursing assistants, heating blankets, medical equipment and warm clothing have been moved to the avalanche site for the rescue operation.
The Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan has issued avalanche alert and advised people living in upper reaches of Kashmir and Ladakh to move cautiously and stay indoors.