Five Indian soldiers trapped under snow near Kashmir border

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Srinagar (AFP): Five Indian soldiers were trapped under heavy snow in Kashmir on Saturday just days after another 20 people were killed by avalanches in the disputed territory, a military spokesman said.

The soldiers were approaching a border post in Machil, northwest of the main city of Srinagar along the Line of Control (LoC) that divides the territory with Pakistan, when the track they were following caved in, Colonel Rajesh Kalia told AFP.

“Rescue operations to retrieve the trapped soldiers is going on,” the army spokesman said.

Another 15 Indian soldiers died when a patrol and two camps were hit by avalanches in the north of the territory, that is also claimed by Pakistan, on Wednesday.

It took rescuers two days to retrieve their bodies from under tons of snow.

Five civilians were also killed this week, including four members of a family when an avalanche ripped through their home as they slept. A lone survivor was rescued.

Dozens of Indian and Pakistani soldiers lose their lives due to avalanches almost every winter along the LoC.

Indian-occupied Kashmir has been witnessing one of the most severe winters in recent decades, with heavy snow across the territory and temperatures dropping to minus seven degrees Celsius (19 degrees Fahrenheit).

Authorities have issued avalanche warnings and advised residents in mountainous areas not to venture out.

Police last week evacuated 80 villagers from Waltengoo Nar in the south of the territory where dozens were killed after a series of avalanches hit the area in 2005.

 

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