Hopes were fading fast for finding any surviors buried under tonnes of ice as Pakistani military rescuers were hampered by fresh heavy snowfall and bad weather in an increasingly desperate search for 139 people, mostly soldiers, buried in an avalanche in Siachen sector, close to Indian border.
Almost 52 hours after mounds of snow came crushing down on to the remote battalion headquarters of the army high up in Karakoram, rescuers were yet to come across any survivors or any bodies despite pressing sniffer dogs and specialised snow clearing equipment.
An eight-member team of US experts, which arrived in Pakistan from Afghanistan on Sunday to help in the rescue efforts, was unable to travel to Gyari, the site of the accident, this morning due to bad weather.
The US embassy spokesman said authorities were standing by to provide any assistance need by their Pakistani counterparts.
Daytime temperature dipped to minus 15 degrees Celsius following heavy snowfall in the region where the avalanche occurred on Saturday, and the rescuers were hampered by the extreme weather conditions.
Officials said over 200 personnel were involved in the search for 139 people, including 124 soldiers, who were buried under up to 80 feet of snow when the avalanche slammed into a battalion headquarters at Gyari near Skardu.
Search and rescue teams were using sniffer dogs and heavy machinery but were finding it difficult to dig through the snow, media reports said.
Experts said the chances of finding survivors over 48 hours after the incident were slim.
The army camp was engulfed by the snow between 0500 to 0600 when most of the soldiers were sleeping when they were hit by an estimated avalanche 1000 metres and 25 metres wide, a military statement said.