Rescue operations at Gayari Sector after Pakistan avalanche
Rescue workers are digging through huge banks of snow following a massive avalanche that engulfed a military complex and buried at least 135 people, most of them soldiers, in a mountain battleground close to the Indian border.
Rescue workers are digging through huge banks of snow following a massive avalanche that engulfed a military complex and buried at least 135 people, most of them Pakistan soldiers, in a mountain battleground close to the Indian border.
Around 240 troops and civilians are working at the scene with the aid of sniffer dogs and heavy machinery, some of which was flown in on military aircraft. They are struggling to dig through some 25 meters (80 feet) of snow, boulders, mud and slush that buried the rear headquarters building in the Gayari sector.
Pakistani army chief Gen. Ashfaq Parvez Kayani visited the site to supervise rescue operations. At least 124 soldiers from the 6 Northern Light Infantry Battalion and 11 civilian contractors are missing.
The thousands of soldiers from both nations stationed there brave viciously cold temperatures, altitude sickness, high winds and isolation for months at a time. Troops have been posted at elevations of up to 6,700 meters (22,000 feet) and have skirmished intermittently since 1984, though the area has been quiet since a cease-fire in 2003. The glacier is known as the world's highest battlefield.
The headquarters in Gayari, situated at around 4,572 meters (15,000 feet), is the main gateway through which troops and supplies pass on their way to other more remote outposts in the sector. It is situated in a valley between two high mountains, close to a military hospital, according to an officer who was stationed there in 2003.