Himachal avalanche: 5 soldiers still missing, bad weather hampers efforts

Shimla: Rescuers on Friday failed to resume a search operation owing to inclement weather near the Tibet border with Himachal Pradesh, where a snow avalanche killed a soldier while five others went missing this week.

As the searches entered the third day, the authorities suspected that the chances of survival of the five trapped in the snow pile were minimal.

“This morning the search operation could not begin due to overnight snowfall. We are hopeful the operation will resume later in the day as there are chances of the weather getting cleared,” a state government official told IANS.

He said the search mission, comprising army men and district rescuers, largely remained suspended on Thursday due of continuous heavy snow and avalanche warnings in the area.

An avalanche on Wednesday was triggered when the glacier near Namgia Dogri bordering Tibet slid, burying six soldiers of the Jammu and Kashmir Rifles when 16 of them were on a routine patrol.

Five Indo-Tibetan Border Force (ITBP) troopers were also injured in the disaster.

The state government said two separate parties of the Army and the ITBP were patrolling at Namgia Dogri when the avalanche hit.

The soldier who died has been identified as Rajesh Kumar, 41, belonging to Himachal Pradesh’s Bilaspur district.

The disaster spot, which is some 350 km from the state capital, has been witnessing heavy snowfall over the past few days.

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