Four soldiers and two porters were killed after an avalanche hit Army posts at Northern Siachen glacier around 3.30 pm on Monday, Hindustan Times quoted unidentified officials as saying.

The soldiers were part of an eight-member patrol party, and were reportedly on their way to rescue a soldier who had fallen ill at a forward post. “Avalanche rescue teams from the nearby posts were rushed to the location for rescue work,” said an unidentified Army official. “All eight personnel were pulled out of the avalanche debris. Seven individuals who were critically injured, accompanied by medical teams, providing critical care were evacuated by helicopters to nearest military hospital, where all life saving resuscitative measures were instituted. Despite best efforts four soldiers and two civilian porters succumbed to extreme hypothermia.”

Earlier in the evening, an unidentified senior Army official told IANS that the soldiers were “trapped at a height of between 18,000 and 19,000 feet above sea level”.

The Siachen Glacier is at an altitude of 5,400 metres above sea level. It is part of the eastern Karakoram Range in the Himalayas where the Line of Control between India and Pakistan ends.

The Indian Army has deployed a brigade in the area, where some posts are located above 6,400 metres. At such an altitude, breathing normally is difficult and the places are prone to avalanches.

The Army has been controlling the Siachen glacier since April 13, 1984, when Operation Meghdoot was launched to capture the glacier by defeating Pakistan.

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