Himachal avalanche: Rescue of trapped jawans halted due to weather


A glacier slid at Shipki La on Thursday morning where rescue parties are on standby to restart the operation to search for five Army jawans trapped in the snow avalanche in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district, officials said.

The Army is waiting for the weather to clear to restart the operation, Kinnaur District Public Relations Officer Mamta Negi said, adding earlier heavy snow and rain hampered the operation.

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 11am on Wednesday.

The search and rescue operation has been adversely affected as Pooh witnessed 4 to 5 inches snowfall whereas more snowfall occurred at Shipki La and adjoining areas Wednesday night, she said, adding it has been raining heavily at the spot since morning.

However, men moved to continue the search operation, she added.

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) 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, Army sources said.

Six jawans were buried alive. One of them was rescued, but he succumbed to injuries subsequently.