Jammu and Kashmir: At least five Army jawans have been reported missing after an avalanche hit Jammu and Kashmir's Bandipora and Nowgam this morning. All of them were on duty. The avalanche, triggered by fresh snowfall, struck a forward post in Gurez sector in Bandipora.
- The avalanche struck an Army post in Bandipora's Gurez this morning
- 3 soldiers in Gurez and 2 in Nowgam went missing after the avalanche
- Rescue operations are on but heavy snowfall is proving to be a challenge
"The avalanche hit an Army post at Baktoor near the Line of Control in Gurez sector during the intervening night," a police official said. He confirmed three soldiers went missing after the avalanche. Another two soldiers have been missing in Nowgam.
The army said rescue operations are underway, but heavy snowfall in the area is proving to be a huge challenge. "Efforts are on to trace the missing soldiers but continuous snowfall is hampering the rescue and search efforts," he added.
The Valley has remained cut off from the rest of the country after it received fresh snowfall today. Flight operations at the Srinagar airport were suspended and all major highways, including the Srinagar-Jammu National Highway have been closed for traffic.
The Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rains and snowfall in the Valley till Friday. The Jammu and Kashmir Police have established helplines in various districts for people to seek help during an emergency arising due to snowfall and rains.
Earlier this year, several soldiers were killed in Kashmir as avalanches hit a military post and a patrol along the Line of Control. In January, four avalanches on a single day claimed the lives of 15 persons -- 11 soldiers and four civilians -- in North Kashmir's Gurez and Sonmarg.
The unprecedented April snowfall in the Valley triggered multiple avalanches in which an army picket in Batalik sector in Ladakh got buried and three soldiers were killed.