Pakistan army says little hope for 139 in avalanche
ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - There is little hope that any of the 128 Pakistani soldiers and 11 civilians buried under an avalanche that engulfed a battalion at an alpine camp a week ago will be found alive, Pakistan's army said on Saturday.
"We are praying to God for a miracle," Major General Ishfaq Nadeem Ahmad, the head of military operations, said at a press conference in the garrison town of Rawalpindi.
Bad weather has hampered efforts to try to find survivors of the avalanche that trapped its victims beneath 25 m (80 feet) of snow in one of the most unforgiving environments in the world.
The disaster struck early on Saturday a week ago at an altitude of 4,000 m (13,000 feet) near the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram mountain range.
Ahmad said the sheer size of the avalanche, which covered an area about one km (half a mile) wide, and the increasingly bad weather conditions were the biggest hurdles to the rescue effort.
He said the military had used the camp for more than 20 years, had never before faced a disaster of such magnitude and would not yet abandon the search.
"We are continuing with both rescue and recovery. We are hoping to continue the rescue efforts until such a time that we get to the people over there," he said.
Pakistan has accepted international help from countries including the United States and China. Nine international experts from Germany and Switzerland are at the rescue site but the U.S. team hasn't been able to make it due to bad weather.
Muslim-majority Kashmir is at the heart of hostility between India and Pakistan and was the cause of two of their three full-scale wars since independence from Britain in 1947.
Between 10,000 and 20,000 Indian and Pakistani troops are stationed in the mountains above the glacier.
(Reporting By Mahawish Rezvi; Editing by Michael Roddy)
- Tweet this
- Share this
- Digg this
- Short-cut to produce hydrogen seen as step to cleaner fuel
- UPDATE 5-Protesters fell Lenin statue, tell Ukraine's president 'you're next'
- Dynasty's Congress party punished in state elections
- Anti-corruption crusader Kejriwal stuns Indian politics with election surge
- S Africa beat India again to lift mood of one-day series
The Congress party was headed for a bruising defeat in key state elections, including in the capital, early results showed on Sunday, underlining the struggle it will face to cling to power in a national election due by May. Full Article