Four soldiers and two porters were killed when a patrolling team of the Indian Army was hit by an avalanche at Siachen Glacier in Ladakh on Monday (November 18).
The killed soldiers were part of an eight-member patrol team working in the northern part of the glacier at 19,000 feet.
According to reports, the avalanche hit the patrol at around 3.30 pm on Monday near the northern part of the glacier, burying eight personnel under its weight of ice and rocks.
Seven of the eight who were pulled out of the debris by search and rescue personnel were critically injured. Although they were rushed to the nearest military hospital, six of them succumbed to extreme hypothermia, Indian Express quoted a senior deference official as saying.
Reacting to the incident, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday conveyed his condolences to the family of the deceased personnel.
“Deeply pained by the demise of soldiers and porters due to avalanche in Siachen. I salute their courage and service to the nation. My heartfelt condolences to their families,” ANI quoted him as saying.
The incident is reminiscent of a similar mishap in 2016 when 10 soldiers of the Madras Regiment were killed after being hit by an avalanche in Northern Siachen Glacier. One of them, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad who survived long enough to be rescued from under 35 feet of snow, succumbed later due to medical complications.
The highest battleground on earth, the Siachen Glacier is a vital place for India due to its conflict with Pakistan over the strip of land since 1984. According to reports, almost 1,013 soldiers have lost their lives since 1984 on the glacier where the minimum temperature dips to 50 degree celcius during winter.