Heavy snow traps 5 Indian soldiers along Kashmir frontier

SRINAGAR: Five Indian soldiers on patrol were trapped under snow after a snowy track caved in Saturday along the highly militarised Line of Control that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

A rescue operation was started immediately despite hostile weather, Indian army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said. The soldiers were on a routine patrol when the cave-in occurred in the Machil sector of the Himalayan region under India's control.

Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir have issued avalanche warnings for many parts of the region, especially along the de facto frontier.

Two avalanches on Wednesday buried a military post and swept away a patrol in Gurez, burying 21 soldiers, seven of whom were rescued. The bodies of the 14 others were recovered in two days.

Also earlier Wednesday, four members of a family and an Indian army officer were killed in other avalanches.

The heavy snowfall has cut off roads and disrupted power and communications in Kashmir, and hundreds of residents have been evacuated from high-risk areas.

Avalanches and landslides are common in Kashmir and have caused some of the heaviest tolls for the Indian and Pakistani armies camped near the Line of Control area.

In 2012, a massive avalanche in the Pakistan-controlled part killed 140 people, including 129 Pakistani soldiers.