Pakistan army says little hope for 139 in avalanche

ISLAMABAD Sat Apr 14, 2012 11:05pm IST

The Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram mountain range north of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is seen in this October 4, 2003 file photo. REUTERS/Pawel Kopczynski/Files

The Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram mountain range north of the Indian state of Jammu and Kashmir is seen in this October 4, 2003 file photo.

Credit: Reuters/Pawel Kopczynski/Files

Related Topics

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)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Healthcare Corruption

TOP SHOWCASE

Tihar Food Court

Tihar Food Court

Restaurant run by Tihar convicts wins praise for politeness, hygiene.  Full Article 

Repaying Investors

Repaying Investors

Supreme Court could allow Sahara boss to conduct asset sale talks, company says.  Full Article 

Reuters Exclusive

Reuters Exclusive

Lupin, U.S. firms weigh bids for GSK's mature drugs: sources.  Full Article 

Apple Results

Apple Results

Apple revenue lags Street's view despite strong China growth  Full Article | Full Coverage 

Female Foeticide

Female Foeticide

India faces crisis over dwindling numbers of girls, U.N. says.  Full Article 

No Ceasefire

No Ceasefire

Israel pounds Gaza despite international peace efforts.  Full Article 

Final Journey

Final Journey

Train carrying MH17 bodies on final journey reaches Ukraine city.  Full Article 

Transfer Season

Transfer Season

Real Madrid sign Colombian Rodriguez.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage