One army jawan was killed and five others have gone missing after being hit by an avalanche in Namgya region of Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district on Wednesday. The ITBP force, army and district authorities launched rescue operations.
The avalanche hit the security forces near Shipkala on Kinnaur-Tibet border in HP's Kinnaur district, officials said. "An army patrol deployed in Shipkila Sector, Himachal Pradesh along the India China border while moving between two posts was hit by a massive snow avalanche on 20 February 2019," an official statement said.
Five brave army personnel were currently missing after being buried under the snow, it said, adding that one personnel succumbed to his injuries while being evacuated to the hospital.
Extensive search and rescue operations by the army for the missing personnel are currently in progress, the statement said.
The body of one of the Army jawans was recovered, but there was no trace of five others, Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Gopal Chand said.
The deceased jawan was identified as Rakesh Kumar (41) of Ghumarpur village in Bilaspur district of Himachal Pradesh, Kinnaur Superintendent of Police (SP) Sakshi Verma told PTI, adding that the jawans belonged to the 7 JAK Rifles unit of the Army.
Kumar's body has been taken to the Poohu civil hospital for autopsy.
Rescue operations were called off at 8 pm due to darkness. The forces will resume rescue mission at first light on Thursday.
According to Army sources, 16 jawans had gone towards the Shipki La border post from Namagya in order to repair a damaged water supply line when the avalanche struck, burying six of them alive. One of them was rescued, but he succumbed to his injuries subsequently.
An Army spokesperson said the search-and-rescue operation would go on till the last man was retrieved.
A team of about 150 persons, including Army and ITBP personnel, is searching for the trapped jawans, along with the police.
Confirming the incident, Defence PRO Amit Gaur told PTI that the Army would issue an official statement on Thursday.
Earlier this month, an avalanche had claimed lives of six security personnel and two prisoners after it hit a police post near Jawahar Tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir's Kulgam district.