Six killed as avalanche buries Indian patrol on disputed glacier

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An avalanche on Monday hit an Indian patrol in the world’s highest militarized zone in the Himalayas, killing four soldiers and two porters, an army spokesman said.

The disaster was the latest on the Siachen Glacier at more than 5,000 meters (16,500 feet) that is claimed by India and rival Pakistan.

Hundreds of troops from both sides have died in avalanches and from the fierce climate in the region over the past three decades.

An Indian military spokesman told AFP that the avalanche engulfed eight people in the patrol at the northern end of the glacier in the Karakoram mountain range.

Rescue teams managed to dig the patrol members out of the snow, and they were taken by helicopter to hospital.

“Despite best efforts, six casualties which includes four soldiers and two civilian porters succumbed to extreme hypothermia,” said the spokesman, Colonel Rajesh Kalia.

Avalanches are common on the 700-square-kilometer (270-square-mile) glacier, where temperatures regularly fall to minus 60 degrees Celsius (-76 Fahrenheit).

In 2016, 10 Indian soldiers were buried and killed.

About 900 Indian soldiers alone have died on the glacier since 1984, when Indian forces took complete control of Siachen.

The glacier is located at the northern end of the Line of Control that divides Kashmir, which India and Pakistan have fought over since 1947.

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