Kayani monitors Siachen rescue operations
Islamabad, April 8 (IANS) Pakistani Army chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani Sunday monitored the rescue operation to pull out 124 soldiers and 11 civilians who were trapped following a massive avalanche in the Siachen area, the army and media said.
An army spokesperson said that 135 soldiers and civilians were buried when a huge avalanche hit an army camp in Pakistan's northern Siachen Glacier area early Saturday.
The massive avalanche engulfed a military complex in Gayari sector near Skardu.
Military officials said Sunday they have not recovered any bodies even after nearly 35 hours.
Rescue operation was underway on second day at the site, with sniffer dogs, helicopters and troops on ground, reported Xinhua.
Heavy machinery has been moved from Rawalpindi by air, the Inter-Services Public Relations said. The army is sending more heavy equipment to help with the effort.
The army chief and top commanders visited the site and monitored rescue efforts by helicopter, a media report quoted the army officials as saying.
The affected soldiers belong to Northern Light Infantry Battalion. They were buried in the avalanche, covering an area of one square km, army spokesperson Major General Athar Abbas told the state television.
He said there had been minor avalanches but this is the first time a huge avalanche occurred in the area.
He said that the battalion headquarter is situated at same place for last 20 years and no incident of this nature has happened.
The army has released names of all those trapped and also made public phone numbers for members of the affected families to contact the army for updated information about the fate of the buried men.
Located in the eastern Karakoram range in the Himalayas, the 70-km-long Siachen Glacier is the world's second longest glacier in the non-polar areas.
It is also the world's highest battlefield. Soldiers have been deployed at elevations of up to 6,700 meters.
Siachen is one of the major issues in the dialogues between Pakistan and India
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