Srinagar: Army on Friday released the names of ten soldiers presumed killed in a deadly avalanche that swept through their post in Siachen glacier area at a height of 19,600 feet in eastern Ladakh on Wednesday morning.
Four of them are from Tamil Nadu, three including a Junior Commissioned Officer from Karnataka and one each from Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Maharashtra.
They are Subedar Nagesha TT, a resident of Tejur, Hassan district of Karnataka, Havildar Elumalai M from Dukkam Parai, Vellore district of Tamil Nadu, Lance Havildar S. Kumar of Kumanan Thozhu, Teni district (also in Tamil Nadu), Lance Naik Sudheesh B, of Monroethuruth, Kollam district of Kerala, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad of Betadur, Dharwad district of Karnataka, Sepoy Mahesha PN of HD Kote, Mysore district of Karnataka, Sepoy Ganesan G of village Chokkathevan Patti, Madurai district of Tamil Nadu, Sepoy Rama Moorthy N of Gudisatana Palli , Krishna Giri district of Tamil Nadu, Sepoy Mushtaq Ahmed S of Parnapalle, Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh and Sepoy (Nursing Assistant) Suryawanshi SV of Maskarwadi, Satara district of Maharashtra.
Defence spokesman Colonel S.D. Goswami said that the rescue operation "is continuing with additional specialised equipment and teams deployed at the site of avalanche". However, there is no hope of finding any survivors from the avalanche which buried these ten Army jawans at their post at dawn on Wednesday. In fact, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar, Jammu and Kashmir Governor, N.N. Vohra and several Army commanders including Northern Command chief Lt. Gen. DS Hooda, have expressed their grief over the loss of precious lives and saluted the soldiers for their bravery.
Army has also said that finding any survivors is a remote possibility now even though desperate search operation has continued with specialised teams of the Army and the Air Force along with sniffer dogs carving through massive chunks of frost.
As already reported, a kilometer wide and 600 feet high wall of snow and ice bore down on the Army camp. The glaciated area presents temperatures ranging from a minimum of minus 42 degrees in the night to maximum of minus 25 degrees during the day. The rescue teams have been in vain braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate the victims, reports said.
The massive avalanche hit the post located in the southern side of the Siachen glacier at dawn on Wednesday. The post was being manned by the JCO and nine soldiers when the incident occurred.
The Siachen Glacier is located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, just northeast of the point NJ9842 where the Line of Control (LoC) ends. As both India and Pakistan have claim over it, the stretch of snow is dubbed as the world’s highest battlefield. As many as 869 Indian Army personnel have lost their lives on the Siachen due to climatic conditions and environmental and other factors since the Army launched Operation Meghdoot to take the control of the strategically vital glacier in 1984 till December 2015.
In a recent such incident, four soldiers were killed by an avalanche in January this year. The worst, however, occurred in April 2012 when an entire Army location was swept in a massive avalanche in the area killing as many as 135 soldiers.
Prior to 1984, neither India nor Pakistan had any military forces in this area. In spite of avalanches and landslides claiming lives of the soldiers routinely in the area particularly during the winter when temperatures can drop as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius, the Indian military authorities maintain that the Army will stay in the region for strategic advantages.