Two Army personnel were killed on Saturday after an avalanche hit their patrol at an altitude of about 18,000 feet in southern Siachen glacier in the Union Territory of Ladakh, a defence spokesperson said.
An Army patrol operating at an altitude of approximately 18,000 feet in Southern Siachen Glacier was hit by an avalanche during the early hours of Saturday, Srinagar-based defence spokesperson Col Rajesh Kalia said in a statement. He said an Avalanche Rescue Team (ART) following the patrol immediately rushed and managed to locate and pull out all members of the patrol. Army helicopters too were simultaneously pressed into service to evacuate the avalanche victims, he said.
Indian Army spokesperson, Colonel Rajesh Kalia said, "An Army patrol operating at an altitude of approximately 18,000 feet in Southern Siachen Glacier was hit by an avalanche during the early hours of November 30." Indian Army's Northern Command in a tweet paid tributes to the two Bravehearts who lost their life.
#LtGenRanbirSingh, #ArmyCdrNC and all ranks salute the supreme sacrifice of Nb Sub Tsewang Gialshan and Rfn Padma Norgais; offer deepest condolences to the families. @adgpi @PIB_India @SpokespersonMoD pic.twitter.com/mC6UgZnvXh— NorthernComd.IA (@NorthernComd_IA) November 30, 2019
Despite the best efforts by the medical teams, two Army personnel, however, perished in the avalanche, the officer said. It was for the second time that an avalanche occurred in Siachen in the past two weeks.
Earlier on November 18, four Indian Army personnel and two civilian porters were killed in an avalanche in the northern part of the Siachen Glacier. The Siachen Glacier at the height of around 20,000 ft in the Karakoram range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world where the soldiers have to battle frostbite and high winds. Avalanches and landslides are common at the glacier during winters with temperatures often dropping to as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.
Siachen Glacier is the world's highest battlefield and more troops have been killed in weather and terrain-related incidents in the area than in enemy firing. India has deployed troops in its territory since 1984 after Pakistan tried to usurp the glacier by sending its troops and mountaineering expeditions in the area.