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Avalanche in held Kashmir kills three

January 19, 2019

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SRINAGAR: An avalanche at a Himalayan mountain pass in India-held Kashmir on Friday killed three people and left another seven missing, officials said.

The avalanche hit the Khardung La Pass in the remote Ladakh region and trapped 10 people under snow, said top civil administrator Baseer Khan.

Three bodies were recovered later while rescue teams of police and army soldiers were looking for the missing, said police officer Tashi Wangial. He said the victims were labourers working in the area when the avalanche hit.

Avalanches and landslides are common in Kashmir. Last year, 11 people were killed after their vehicle was hit by an avalanche in the north-western Kupwara area.

Avalanches have particularly caused some of the heaviest tolls for the Indian and Pakistani soldiers serving in the Himalayan region.

On January 25, 2017, a series of four avalanches hit areas in India-held Kashmir and claimed the lives of 24 persons, including 20 soldiers and four civilians.

The first avalanche hit the Gurez Sector in the morning, in which a family of four died.

The second took place around the same time in Sonmarg. In the evening, two avalanches again hit the Gurez Valley, roughly 150km from Sonmarg, in quick succession. One hit an army camp, the other a group of soldiers who had been out on patrol.

The bodies of 15 soldiers have been recovered so far from the area. It is not yet known how many soldiers are missing.

In 2012, a massive avalanche in Azad Jammu and Kashmir left 140 people martyred, including 129 soldiers.

Published in Dawn, January 19th, 2019