Indian Army personnel near the wreckage of an Army truck after the vehicle skidded off while negotiating a sharp turn, at Zema in North Sikkim, Friday, Dec. 23, 2022. Atleast sixteen Army personnel were killed and four others injured in the accident, according to Army officials. (Photo: PTI)
NEW DELHI: In a tragic road accident, 16 Indian Army soldiers lost their lives and four others were injured on Friday at Zema, North Sikkim, when the Army truck in which they were travelling skidded down a steep slope while negotiating a sharp turn.
President Droupadi Murmu and Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed their grief and offered condolences to the families of the deceased soldiers.
The ill-fated vehicle was part of a three-vehicle convoy that had moved from Chatten in the morning towards Thangu. En route at Zema, the vehicle skidded down a steep slope while negotiating a sharp turn.
A rescue mission was immediately launched, and four injured soldiers were evacuated by air. "Unfortunately, three Junior Commissioned Officers and 13 soldiers succumbed to the injuries sustained in the accident," the Indian Army said in a statement.
President Murmu said she was anguished to learn about the death of 16 Army personnel in the Sikkim accident. She offered heartfelt condolences to the families of the deceased and prayed for the speedy recovery of the injured.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi also expressed grief at the death of the 16 Army personnel in a road accident in Sikkim. Quoting Mr Modi, the PMO tweeted: "Pained by the loss of lives of our brave Army personnel due to a road mishap in Sikkim. Condolences to the bereaved families. May the injured recover soon."
Defence minister Rajnath Singh said he was deeply pained by the loss of lives of Indian Army personnel due to a road accident in North Sikkim. "The nation is deeply grateful for their service and commitment. My condolences to the bereaved families. Praying for the speedy recovery of those who are injured," said Mr Singh.
Earlier, in May this year, seven Indian Army personnel were killed in the Turtuk sector in Ladakh when their vehicle skidded off the road and fell into the Shyok river at a depth of around 50-60 feet.