Avalanche hits Indian army post in Himalayas, 6 killed


SRINAGAR, India (AP) – An avalanche hit an Indian army post Monday on a Himalayan glacier in the disputed Kashmir region, killing four soldiers and their two civilian porters, the army said.

The avalanche happened at height of more than 5,485 meters (17,995 feet) in the northern part of the Siachen Glacier. Rescuers pulled six soldiers and two porters from the snow, said army spokesman Lt. Col. Abhinav Navneet.

They were taken by helicopter to a military hospital, where the four soldiers and the two porters died, Navneet said. The surviving two soldiers were undergoing treatment, he said.

The group was on patrol near the post when the area was hit by the avalanche, Navneet said. The post was also hit by the avalanche but there were no reports of injuries there.

The glacier is on the northern tip of the divided Kashmir region claimed by India and Pakistan in an area known as the world’s highest battlefield.

The two countries have had troops deployed there since 1984 at elevations of up to 6,700 meters (21,982 feet).

There have been intermittent skirmishes since then, but more soldiers have died from harsh weather than from combat.

In 2017, at least 20 Indian soldiers were killed in three avalanches. In 2012, an avalanche in Pakistan-controlled Kashmir killed 140 people, including 129 Pakistani soldiers.

FILE- In this July 19, 2011 file photo, Indian army soldiers undergo a training session at the Siachen base camp, in Indian Kashmir on the border with Pakistan. The Indian army says an avalanche has hit one of its posts on a Himalayan glacier in disputed Kashmir region and that at least eight soldiers are trapped under snow. Army spokesman Lt. Col. Devender Anand says the avalanche struck on Monday in the northern part of the Siachen Glacier and that a search and rescue operation is underway. (AP Photo/Channi Anand, File)