March 30, 2023

Arunachal avalanche: Bodies of 7 missing soldiers found | India News – Times of India

NEW DELHI: The bodies of the seven soldiers, who had gone missing after their patrol along the border with China in Arunachal Pradesh was hit by an avalanche on Sunday morning, were found on Tuesday.
The Army had launched a major search and rescue operation, with specialized avalanche-rescue teams and equipment being airlifted to the area at an altitude of 14,500-feet along the Line of Actual Control in the West Kameng district of the state, soon after the soldiers were reported missing in the early hours of Sunday.
“Bodies of all seven individuals have been recovered from the avalanche site. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of everyone involved, all seven have been confirmed deceased,” an Army officer said on Tuesday.
The bodies are being transferred from the avalanche area, which has witnessing inclement weather with heavy snowfall in the last few days, to the nearest Army medical facility for further formalities, he added.

The deceased, who were on an area domination patrol, were identified as Havildar Jugal Kishore and jawans Rakesh Singh, Ankesh Bharadwaj, Vishal Sharma, Akshay Pathania, Arun Katal and Gurbhaj Singh.
The incident is yet another grim reminder of the harsh high-altitude terrain in which Indian soldiers are deployed along the unresolved borders with China and Pakistan.

The Siachen Glacier-Saltoro Ridge with Pakistan as well as eastern Ladakh and Arunachal Pradesh with China are, in particular, forbidding terrains. Over 1,000 Indian soldiers, including over 35 officers, have lost their lives in the Siachen Glacier-Saltoro Ridge region since April 1984, with around three-fourths of these casualties being caused by the severe terrain and climatic conditions there rather than enemy fire.
Soldiers deployed in high-altitude regions are given prior training in mountain craft, ice craft and survival to cope with any eventuality like avalanches. “But despite best efforts in training, equipment and forecasting, one cannot fight nature sometimes,” another official said.
The Army, in fact, had last year set the ball rolling for procurement of 20 new avalanche rescue radars, with hand-held detectors, from abroad to ensure it can quickly locate soldiers who get buried under snow during natural calamities in high-altitude areas.

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