Siachen, February 05: The 10 Army personnel, including an officer, who were buried under a mass of snow after being hit by an avalanche yesterday at a high-altitude post on Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir, have died.
Confirming the saddening deaths of Indian soldiers, PM Narendra Modi mourned through a tweet: "Demise of soldiers in Siachen is very tragic. I salute the brave soldiers who gave their lives to the nation. Condolences to their families."
“It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty,’’ said General Officer Commanding-in-Chief Lt General D S Hooda.
The Ministry of Defence had earlier in the day said the chances of finding any survivors were very remote. “With deepest regret we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are very remote,” said the Defence Spokesperson.
Army and IAF tried hard since yesterday to rescue the soldiers -- a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and nine other ranks of Madras Regiment -- after their post was hit by the avalanche at the altitude of 19,000 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.
Specialised Army teams, backed by sniffer dogs, ice-cutters, drilling machines and other equipment, continue to soldier on with their search-and-rescue operation at the ill-fated Sonam Post at an altitude of 19,600 ft.
"With the passage of over 35 hours, the chances of finding any survivor are now remote. The entire area, with the post and adjoining helipad, was buried deep under tonnes of crystalised snow when the ice-wall, measuring almost a km wide and 800-m-tall, collapsed on Wednesday," said an officer.
"Even if the fibre-glass huts of the 10 soldiers (a JCO and nine jawans of the 19 Madras Regiment) were somehow intact under the ice blanket, the oxygen would have finished by now," he added.