Avalanche turns grave for 17 Army
menin J&K.17 others hurt as tragedy strikes training
campin Gulmarg.Tribune News Service
Srinagar, February 8.At least 17 Army personnel, including an
officer, were killed and 17 others injured in an avalanche at
Khilanmarg in the upper reaches of Gulmarg, about 50 km from
here, today. Fortysix others were rescued in a joint operation
launched by the Army, police and the State Tourism Department.
A defence spokesman said the avalanche struck the training area
at Khelan Marg, where 400 Army personnel were undergoing
training. Around 80 members of High Altitude Warfare School
(HAWS) were trapped under the avalanche. Prompt action by
the Army, duly assisted by the state administration, including
civilian doctors and the police, resulted in the rescue of Army
personnel. A Brigadier from the formation was overseeing the
rescue operations, the spokesman said.
The tragedy has happened when the entire Kashmir valley and
its upper reaches have been witnessing heavy rain and snowfall
for the past four days, disrupting traffic on the Srinagar-Jammu
Various areas of the valley, particularly in north Kashmir, have
been cut off from the rest of the state due to heavy accumulation
of snow in the upper reaches and high mountain areas. Gulmarg
and Khilanmarg areas are under three to five feet snow
accumulated during the past four days.
The Disaster Management, Kashmir, had only yesterday issued
avalanche warning for various areas across the Kashmir valley
in view of continued bad weather conditions. It warned of high
danger avalanches in areas around Sonmarg on the Srinagar-
Ladakh axis, and the medium danger avalanche warning in
Khilanmarg, Uri, Baaz, Razdan Top, Keran, Machchil, Sadhna
Top, Gurez and Chowkibal areas of north Kashmir. Aamir Ali,
OSD with the Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, in charge of
the disaster management, here yesterday, quoting the SASE,
also warned of low danger avalanches on the two sides of the
Jawahar Tunnel on the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
According to officials of the Tourism Department, which
conducts snow skiing events in the area, a team of skiing and
rescue experts headed by Tourist Officer GM Dar, equipped with
snow scooters and piston bullies, have joined the rescue operations.
Veteran Prabhjot Singh Chhatwal PLS Retd.