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Pakistani army launches rescue operation after avalanche buries over 100 soldiers

04-07-2012 21:18 BJT

ISLAMABAD, April 7 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani army Saturday launched a massive rescue operation after an avalanche buried over 100 soldiers in the country's northern Siachen Glacier area, said an army spokesman.

Major General Athar Abbas, spokesman of Inter-Services Intelligence, a mouthpiece of Pakistani army, said in a statement that over 100 soldiers including a colonel were buried under avalanche in Gyari Sector of the Siachen Glacier early Saturday morning.

The army has launched a rescue operation to winch the trapped soldiers as soon as possible, he said, adding that snap dogs and helicopters were also used in rescue operation which was conducted by hundreds of troops.

The spokesman said the avalanche hit the army camp at about 6: 00 a.m. local time on Saturday, but a local state-run TV channel PTV said that the avalanche took place at about 3:00 a.m. local time.

The army spokesman did not offer more details about any casualty.

The local Urdu TV channel News 5 quoted unidentified army sources as saying that 30 soldiers were killed in the avalanche, but there is not official confirmation about the report yet.

Local media said that the rescue work has encountered some problems due to the bad weather conditions in the avalanche-hit area.

One Pakistani army captain who used to be posted in the Siachen Glacier told Xinhua that the Gyari sector is over 4,000 meters high above the sea level and Gyari army post is the highest post on the Pakistani side in the Siachen Glacier, which normally accommodates 150 to 200 troops.

Located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, just east of the Line of Control that divides Pakistan and India in the disputed Kashmir region, the 70-kilometer-long Siachen Glacier is the world's second longest glacier in the non-polar areas.

Pakistan says that India had occupied some parts of Siachen in the mid-1980s. Both sides had been involved in clashes in the region. But guns have been silent after a cease-fire went into effect in 2003. Siachen is one of the major issues on which both countries have been holding dialogue for years. But there has been no progress as both sides are unwilling to budge from their positions.


Editor:Zheng Limin |Source: Xinhua

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