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HP: Six Army jawans feared dead in avalanche, ITBP personnel trapped

HP: Six Army jawans feared dead in avalanche, ITBP personnel trapped
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Shimla: In a huge tragedy, six army jawans guarding high altitude Sino-India border in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district, feared dead while four ITBP personnel were trapped after a massive avalanche hit them in Namgya region, near Shipkala.

State's Additional Chief Secretary (Disaster management) Manisha Nanda said one soldier who was rescued immediately after the incident died on his way to a local hospital at Pooh.

A massive operation has been started at the site to retrieve the bodies of five jawans, who were still buried under the snow. " The operation was undertaken with the help of the army, ITBP, local police, and civilians will continue during the night. We have got solar lights installed and necessary arrangements made for the rescue teams," she told the Millennium Post expressing shock over the incident.

Reports said about 16 armies and ITBP jawans were on routine patrolling in two separate parties, and one party got trapped in the avalanche.

The army personnel, four of them from Himachal Pradesh, one each from Jammu and Kashmir and Darjeeling, belonged to J&K rifles unit posted on the international borders with China.

Kinnaur has been experiencing heavy snowfall for the past one week. State's Disaster management authority had already sent a warning about the avalanche in Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts.

Nanda said senior officials of the police and civil administration have reached on the stop and supervising the operation to retrieve the bodies. "We are keeping a close eye on the situation," she informed.

Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Gopal Chand confirmed that five jawans were missing while one has been reported died. The avalanche occurred at around 11 am.

Expressing shock over the tragedy, Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the state government would provide all possible assistance to the ITBP to ensure speedy relief and rehabilitation works. The Deputy Commissioner Kinnaur has been directed to keep close liaison with the ITBP Authorities.

Hisey Negi, a local youth leader, said the incident took place near Namgay Dogri. There is an unconfirmed report that one of the jawans, who died had actually gone down the hill, to fetch water as water sources near their camp were frozen. All of a sudden the entire party got trapped in the avalanche, he said.

Shipkala is also border trade point with China's Tibet region.

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