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Avalanches hit Srinagar, 5 missing

February 18, 2005 23:53 IST

With Srinagar receiving the season's heaviest snowfall, the Kashmir valley was cut off from the rest of the country and five people clearing snow on the Jammu-Srinagar highway went missing after an avalanche hit the north of the Jawahar Tunnel on Friday.

Twenty-one people, including two journalists, were rescued from three other avalanches that hit the highway, a defence spokesman said.

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The army rescued seven Beacon personnel engaged in road clearance when the first avalanche struck near Shaitani Nallah, he said.

The second avalanche occurred on the southern side of the Jawahar tunnel, the gateway to the Kashmir valley. Nine Beacon personnel were rescued from there.

The third avalanche hit north of the tunnel. A Beacon Task Force Commander and two ANI journalists were rescued while the five workers were still missing.

Another avalanche took place in an open area on the highway, which remained closed to vehicular traffic for the third successive day on Friday, the spokesman said.

Four centimetres of snow accumulated on the ground in the summer capital of Jammu and Kashmir. All incoming and outgoing flights were cancelled. The snowing forced the authorities to close down many vital road links.

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