Kashmir Avalanche Kills Indian Soldier, 6 Missing

Published January 24, 2012 11:54AM (EST)

SRINAGAR, India (AP) — A huge avalanche buried seven Indian soldiers on Tuesday while they were clearing snow from an army supply road in the mountains in Kashmir near India's cease-fire line with Pakistan, the army said.

Rescuers with sniffer dogs and a helicopter retrieved the body of one paramilitary officer, but another paramilitary soldier and five army soldiers were still missing hours after the morning avalanche, police said.

The soldiers had been clearing an army supply road after weeks of heavy snowfall in the disputed Himalayan region. Hundreds of thousands of Indian troops are stationed along the heavily militarized Line of Control that runs between the Indian- and Pakistani-controlled portions of Kashmir.

"As the soldiers were clearing snow, a massive avalanche buried them," army spokesman Lt. Col. J.S. Brar said, adding that more snowfall Tuesday had hampered the search effort.

"The weather is extremely hostile, and there is a warning of more avalanches in the region," he said.

Avalanches and landslides are common in the Himalayan region, sometimes hitting military posts and army training centers and killing scores of soldiers. In 2010, 17 soldiers died when a wall of snow and ice slammed into the army's High Altitude Warfare School.

By Salon Staff

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