SRINAGAR: The second avalanche in a fortnight struck Indian troops in Siachen on Saturday, killing two soldiers on the world’s highest battlefield. Defence spokesman Colonel Rajesh Kalia said that an Army patrol operating at an altitude of approximately 18,000 ft in southern Siachen glacier was hit by an avalanche in the early hours of Saturday. The members of the patrol party were buried under the snow.
The Army’s Avalanche Rescue Team (ART) rushed to the spot to launch a rescue operation, Kalia said, adding the team managed to locate and pull out all the members of the patrol from the snow.
Army helicopters evacuated the avalanche victims to a hospital, but two soldiers succumbed to their injuries. The deceased were identified as Naib Subedar Tsewang Gialshan, 40, and Rifleman Padma Norgais, 21. Both were residents of Leh, Ladakh.
It was the second avalanche to hit troops on the Siachen glacier within a fortnight. On November 18, an Army patrol was hit by an avalanche in the northern sector of Siachen glacier, killing four soldiers and two porters.
Weather and terrain have taken the heaviest toll on the Army since India took control of the Siachen heights in 1984. As per sources, as many as 167 Army personnel have lost their lives on Siachen Glacier in the last 10 years due to weather-related incidents.
In 2016, an Army post manned by 10 soldiers was buried under an avalanche in northern Siachen. Situated on northern edge of the Himalayas in Ladakh, the Siachen glacier, which reaches heights of 22,000 feet at places, is prone to avalanches and the temperature drops to -60 degrees Celsius during winter.