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5 soldiers trapped in avalanche in Kupwara, rescued

Five Army personnel were on Saturday rescued alive after being trapped for several hours under snow in Macchil sector along the Line of Control in Kashmir Valley, officials said.

The soldiers got trapped after the track leading to their post caved in this morning. "All the five soldiers were rescued alive and were shifted to hospital for treatment," an Army official said.

He said the rescue operation was launched immediately after the snow track leading to the post caved in, resulting in five soldiers getting trapped.

The rescuers worked hard despite inclement weather and managed to rescue the trapped jawans, the official said. As many as 21 persons, including 15 Army men, have been killed since Wednesday due to avalanches and snowfall-related deaths in Kashmir Valley.

Authorities have issued a high danger avalanche warning in hilly parts of snow-bound Kashmir Valley in view of fresh snowfall which was still continuing when last reports were received.

On Friday, several avalanches and landslides hit the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway even as the death toll in the series of snow slides that have hit Jammu and Kashmir crossed 20 with the recovery of the bodies of four soldiers.

The fresh avalanche in Banihal disrupted the work of the Border Roads Organisation (BRO) that is busy clearing blockades due to snowfall in a bid to restore traffic on the highway which is closed for the third consecutive day on Saturday.

In Srinagar, police officials said bodies of four missing soldiers were recovered from avalanche-hit Gurez sector. "Four bodies of soldiers were recovered from the avalanche site by rescue teams in Gurez. The death toll of Army personnel has now risen to 14," a police official said.

Two avalanches hit Army personnel in Gurez sector on Wednesday evening trapping several soldiers under the debris. While seven personnel were rescued alive by the teams, bodies of 10 soldiers were recovered on Friday.

Meanwhile, a 60-year-old man died after he came under an avalanche in Uri sector of Baramulla district. Fateh Mohammad Mughal ventured out of his home last evening when he came under an avalanche.
Local residents and police pulled Mughal out of the avalanche debris and removed him to a nearby hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival.

More than 20 persons, including 15 army personnel, have died in avalanches since Wednesday caused by fresh snowfall across Jammu and Kashmir over the past four days. Authorities have issued a high danger avalanche warning in hilly parts of snow-bound Kashmir Valley in view of fresh snowfall.

Several avalanches have also hit the highway at Shatani Nallah area in Banihal belt of Ramban district today, police officials said.

A number of landslides were also triggered by heavy rains in Banihal-Ramban sector, they said adding the clearance of the snow to make the highway trafficable is being disrupted due to avalanches and landslides in Banihal-Ramban stretch.

Efforts are on by BRO with their men and machines to clear the highway of landslides, avalanches and heavy snowfall to make it trafficable, they said. The highway was closed on day due to heavy snowfall.
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