SRINAGAR: Rescuers searched Wednesday for 10 soldiers feared buried in an avalanche in India’s remote Himalayas near the de facto border with Pakistan, an army spokesman said.
The soldiers were hit as they patrolled a glacier at an altitude of 5,800 metres (19,000 feet), Colonel S D Goswami said.
“In the early hours of today, 10 soldiers were hit by an avalanche at the northern Siachen Glacier while on patrol,” Goswami told AFP.
Rescuers from the army and airforce have been deployed to search for them, he added.
Indian troops patrol the Siachen Glacier, dubbed the world’s highest battlefield, in the Kashmir region which is disputed between India and Pakistan.
Avalanches and landslides are common in the area during the winter and temperatures there can drop as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius (140 degrees Fahrenheit).
In January, four soldiers were killed by an avalanche, while last year another four died when their vehicle was buried under an avalanche near Leh, the main city of the high-altitude region known as Ladakh.
An estimated 8,000 troops have died on the glacier since 1984, almost all of them from avalanches, landslides, frostbite, altitude sickness or heart failure rather than combat.
Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan, which each administer part of Kashmir but claim it in full, fought over Siachen in 1987. But guns on the glacier have largely fallen silent since a peace process began in 2004.