An avalanche has buried more than 100 Pakistani soldiers – with no signs of survivors – at a military camp near the Siachen glacier on the border with India.
Around 150 soldiers were trapped by the avalanche in the Karakoram mountain range in Kashmir. The snow left by the avalance was up to 25 metres deep and covered an area more than a kilometre wide.
“At six o’clock this morning this avalanche hit a (military) headquarters. Over 100 soldiers and personnel are trapped,” army spokesman Major-General Athar Abbas said.
A helicopter rescue team was searching for the soldiers with sniffer dogs, he added.
Siachen is in the north of the Muslim-majority of Kashmir, which is at the heart of hostilities between India and Pakistan and was the cause of two of their three wars since independence from Britain in 1947.
Indian and Pakistani forces, estimated to number between 10,000 and 20,000 troops combined, have faced off against each other in mountains above the Siachen glacier in the Karakoram range since 1984.
The two nationas have a tentative pease process under way with Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari scheduled to meet Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Sunday, the first visit to India by a Pakistani head of state since 2005.
The no-man’s-land of Siachen (pictured) is 20,000 feet above sea level. Military experts say the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain have claimed more lives than gunfire.