J&K: Army jawan killed, another missing as avalanche hits Turtuk

Army has launched a search operation for the missing soldier.

Srinagar: An Army jawan died and another is missing after a military foot patrol was hit by an avalanche in Turtuk area of Ladakh region of Jammu and Kashmir on Friday morning. This is the second such incidence in the past nine days.

Lance Havildar Bhawan Tamang, one of the two soldiers rescued earlier from beneath several feet deep snow after he and his colleague were swept away by the avalanche succumbed to his injuries at a medical facility in the area close to the Line of Control (LoC).

“The soldier, who was immediately rescued and evacuated to the nearest medical facility could not be revived by the medical team,” Defence Spokesman Colonel S D Goswami said. Tamang was a resident of Lopshu village in Darjeeling, West Bengal.

Lt Gen D S Hooda, Northern Command chief, expressed his deep condolences to the family of the victim.

Read: One soldier feared dead as avalanche hits Army post in Kargil

The defence spokesman said that “massive efforts” were underway to rescue the other jawan “despite inclement weather in the area.”

Turtuk in Nubra Valley at a height of 10,000 feet above sea level is close to the Line of Control (LoC) and was part of Pakistan-occupied-Kashmir prior to 1971 war. Turtuk is one of the gateways to the Siachen Glacier.

Giving the details of the incident, Lt.Col. N.N.Joshi, the spokesman at Srinagar-based Chinar Corpse of the Army said, “At about 8 am today (Friday), an army patrol in Turtuk area of Ladakh was hit by an avalanche in which two soldiers were buried under the snow. Immediate rescue drills resulted in one soldier being rescued while the second soldier is still missing.,” He added, “The rescued soldier is critical and is being evacuated to the nearest military hospital. All efforts are being made to rescue the missing soldier”.

In a similar incident two Army jawans were swept away when an avalanche triggered by a mild earthquake hit an Army post in Biamah area at an altitude of 17,500 feet above sea level close to the Line of Control (LoC) in Kargil sector. One of them Sujit was immediately rescued and is recovering in a military hospital. But his colleague Sepoy Vijay Kumar K went who went missing in the mishap and his frozen lifeless body was retrieved from under fifteen feet of snow accumulated in the area of avalanche occurrence three days later by the rescuers. The victim was a resident of Vallaramapuram village of Thirunelvelli district of Tamil Nadu.

On February 3, nine Army soldiers including a junior commissioned officer were buried alive when a huge wall of frost and snow crashed into the remote Siachen Glacier, smothering a vast area which also had an Army camp located on it in the southern side of the area at a height of 19,600 feet in eastern Ladakh. A tenth soldier Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, a resident of Betadur village in Dharwad district of Karnataka, was miraculously pulled out alive from an ‘arctic tent’ buried under 25 feet of frost and snow though in critical condition by the rescuers on February 8, six days after the incident. But he too died in Army's Research and Referral Hospital, Delhi three days later.

Meanwhile, a ‘medium danger’ avalanche warning was on Friday issued for higher areas of Jammu and Kashmir, advising people not to venture into these areas. The advisory, issued by Chandigarh-based Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) which comes under the Ministry of Defence, will remain effective over the next 24 hours beginning 5 pm on Friday. The avalanche prone areas which come under the warning are located at an altitude of above 3,000 metres and fall in frontier districts of Kupwara, Baramula, Bandipur and Kargil and Gandarbal.

A report from Baramulla said that traffic along the Srinagar-Muzaffarabad road was affected after a major portion of it in Lagama area of Uri in north Kashmir began sinking following heavy rains on Friday. The Kashmir Valley with neighbouring areas is experiencing moderate to heavy rainfall for the past two days. Several parts of the Himalayan region have also received snowfall, reports said.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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