Kinnaur Avalanche: Rescue operations resume, 5 Army personnel still trapped under snow
Shimla, Feb 22: The operations to rescue five Army personnel, who are trapped under the snow after an avalanche in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur District, has resumed now. It was stopped yesterday due to heavy rain and snow making it difficult for the resue team to dig throught the snow.
Over 200 persons of Army, ITBP, local police and District Disaster Management are deployed in the rescue operation, said reports.
Heavy snow, rain and sliding of glaciers on Thursday hampered the operation to search for five Army jawans trapped in the snow avalanche near Shipki La on Sino-India border in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district, officials said. Six jawans of the Army's 7 JAK Rifles -- four from Himachal Pradesh, one each from Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir -- are feared dead in the avalanche that occurred near Shipki La border outpost around 11 AM on Wednesday.
General Reserve Engineer Force (GREF) and its machines could not reach the spot to carry out intensive search operation due to accumulation of several feet snow on the road, Kinnaur Superintendent of Police (SP) Sakshi Verma had said on Thursday.
The rescue teams were at standby as the area was lashed by incessant snow blizzards and snowfall, she had said.
The Army jawans deployed at the Shipki La border post kept on trying to reach the spot by making efforts to clear the snow to carry out search operation, she added.
The search and rescue operation for the missing Army jawans was adversely affected as Pooh witnessed 4 to 5 inches snowfall whereas more snowfall occurred at Shipki La and its adjoining areas on Wednesday night, Negi said, adding it has been raining heavily at the spot since morning. The body of one of the Army jawans was recovered on Wednesday itself, but there was no trace of five others.
The deceased jawan was identified as Rakesh Kumar, 41, a resident of Ghumarpur village in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh. Five Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) jawans were also injured in the avalanche. They have been identified as Belangeen, Rajneesh Kumar, Mohammad Ishan, Rambaran, Tele Tek Chand, Army sources said. When the avalanche descended rapidly down from the mountainside near Shipki La, 16 Army and ITBP jawans had gone towards the border post from Namagya in order to repair a damaged water supply line. While eight ITBP jawans were on the hill overseeing the water supply line, the Army jawans were standing down the hill, the sources said, as per a PTI report.
Six Army jawans were buried alive. One of them was rescued, but he succumbed to injuries subsequently. The Army has not issued any official statement so far regarding this unfortunate incident.