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IN PICS: Avalanches wreak havoc in Kashmir

Last updated on: February 23, 2012 22:19 IST

IN PICS: Avalanches wreak havoc in Kashmir

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar

At least 16 army troopers were killed and nine wounded while three are still missing when two avalanches struck two camps of the army in north Kashmir Wednesday evening.

A defence spokesman on Thursday evening confirmed that bodies of 16 troopers had been recovered and the injured shifted to various hospitals.

He said the avalanches engulfed two camps in the famous north Kashmir health resort of Sonamarg in Ganderbal district and border village of Dawar near Gurez in Bandipore district.

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Image: Rescue workers at Sonamarg
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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"An avalanche hit an army post in Sonamarg on Wednesday evening. Though most of the soldiers were rescued, one Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and two jawans made the supreme sacrifice. Nine personnel were rescued. One JCO, three jawans and two civil porters were injured. Major damage to infrastructure has also taken place," defence spokesman Lt Col J S Brar said.

Rescue operations were hampered by heavy snowfall which continued through the day.

The first avalanche hit the workshop area of the 109 Infantry Brigade, which guards the LoC in Gurez sector, at around 10 pm on Wednesday in Dawar area in Bandipora.

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Image: An Army helicopter taking part in rescue operations
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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IN PICS: Avalanches wreak havoc in Kashmir

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He said the second avalanche hit the Dawar camp near the Line of Control (LoC) burying alive 29 troopers. "Thirteen jawans have lost their lives while 13 others were rescued and three jawans are still missing," Brar said.

"The avalanche damaged around 25 army vehicles and 17 barracks, inside the brigade headquarter workshop," an official statement said.

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Image: Beacon workers clearing the Sonamarg road
Photographs: Umar Ganie
Tags: Brar , Kashmir , Dawar

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IN PICS: Avalanches wreak havoc in Kashmir

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"This particular area is not normally avalanche prone and is cut off from the rest of the Valley in winter months," the spokesman further added.

"It is a major tragedy. Rescue operations are being hindered by heavy snow and bad weather conditions. A specialized team from High Altitude Warfare School along with two avalanche rescue dogs has reached the spot," he said.

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Image: A view of Sonamarg covered with snow
Photographs: Umar Ganie
Tags: , Kashmir , Valley

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IN PICS: Avalanches wreak havoc in Kashmir

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Meanwhile, the medium danger avalanche warning has again been extended for next 24 hours, for higher reaches of Gulmarg, Naugam, Kaiyan, Keran, Chowkibal, Tangdhar, Gurez and Sonamarg areas in north Kashmir.

"People staying in these snow bound areas above 8000 feet have been advised not to venture in steep avalanche prone slopes," the spokesman added.

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Image: A damaged tree at Sonamarg road
Photographs: Umar Ganie

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"Major damage to infrastructure has also taken place," Brar said.


Photographs: Umar Ganie
Tags: Brar , Kashmir

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Photographs: Umar Ganie
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