One jawan died and five other soldiers of the Army's JK Rifles unit are trapped in an avalanche on the Sino-India border in Himachal Pradesh's Kinnaur district on Wednesday, officials said. The body of one jawan had been recovered, whereas five bodies were yet to be traced, Kinnaur Deputy Commissioner Gopal Chand said. The avalanche occurred at around 11 am near Shipkala on the Sino-India border, he added. Several jawans of the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) were also trapped in the avalanche. However, they had been rescued, Chand said.
Recently, the Himachal Pradesh State Disaster Management Authority (HPSDMA) had issued an advisory asking residents in five districts to stay away from avalanche-prone slopes. The advisory came after the Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) issued an avalanche warning for various parts of Chamba, Lahaul-Spiti, Shimla, Kinnaur and Kullu districts, where heavy snowfall is expected in the coming days.
Earlier, predicting heavy snowfall in the high and mid hills, the meteorological department had issued 'orange' and 'red' alerts for Wednesday and Thursday respectively. The HPSDMA asked the district administrations and district disaster management authorities (DDMAs) to monitor the situation in their areas regularly and take appropriate precautionary measures.
The district administrations were also asked to convey bad weather warnings to all grassroots functionaries and locals and to advise tourists against venturing in snow-bound areas. The public has also been advised to keep adequate stock of essential commodities and emergency medicines.
In a similar incident, on February 2, bodies of three persons, who were were buried under an avalanche in Jammu and Kashmir's Anantnag district a day ago, were recovered by a search and rescue team.
Four people were aboard a snow removal machine on the Pahalgam-Aru road when they were trapped under the avalanche.