The 10 Army personnel, including an officer, who were buried under a mass of snow after being hit by an avalanche on Wednesday at a high-altitude post on Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir, have died.
In last two days, Indian army and air force had tried hard to rescue the trapped soldiers, a junior commissioned officer and nine other ranks of madras regiment after their post was hit by the avalanche at the altitude of 19,000 feet close to the line of control with Pakistan.
Specialised teams with modern equipment, flown to Leh this morning, were also pressed into service along with sniffer dogs but all efforts to rescue them failed.
“Demise of soldiers in Siachen is very tragic. I salute the brave soldiers who gave their lives to the nation. Condolences to their families,” Prime Minister Narendra said, confirming the fears about their fate.
“It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,” said Lt Gen DS Hooda, Army Commander, Northern Command, in a message.
Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock’ and ‘deep distress’ over the demise of soldiers.
Earlier in the day, Col SD Goswami, defence PRO of Indian army’s northern command had said: “Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors. However, it is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote.”
The glaciated area presents temperatures ranging from a minimum of minus 42 degrees Celsius in the night to maximum of minus 25 degrees C during the day.
(With inputs from agencies)