Pak steps up efforts to find avalanche survivors

Last Updated: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 14:01

Islamabad: Amidst snowfall and weather
hazards, Pakistani rescue teams Wednesday stepped up their search for 138 people, a majority of them soldiers, buried under
dozens of feet of snow by an avalanche in Siachen sector.

Search and rescue teams using bulldozers and heavy
machinery have cleared a 450-metre access track to five
"priority points" where the people could be buried, a military
statement said.

These priority points were identified by a team from the
Strategic Plans Division, an elite nuclear formation equipped
with sophisticated gadgets.

The rescue operation at Gyari in Siachen sector was
continuing despite "weather hazards", the statement said.

Rescue teams were working on a second access track so
that they could widen the search perimeter. Work at two
priority points is progressing at "rapid speed" because of the
use of heavy machinery.

Work at the three other priority points is "mainly being
done" by infantry troops, who are manually digging through the
snow, the military said.

A bulldozer was being used to restore a water channel
that was blocked by the avalanche four days ago.

The Met Office has forcast snowfall over Siachen and
surrounding areas till tomorrow and officials have said they
expect the weather to clear by the afternoon of Thursday.

Flights to Skardu, the town closest to Gyari, have been unable to take off due to bad weather.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani had to call off his
plan to visit Gyari yesterday due to bad weather, officials

The premier had intended to visit the region to express
solidarity with the troops. He was advised by authorities not
to travel due to the inclement weather, officials said.
Gilani has directed authorities to use all available resources to retrieve the soldiers trapped by the avalanche on
April 7.

The military has said a total of 138 people, including
127 soldiers and 11 civilian employees, were buried when the
avalanche hit a battalion headquarters at Gyari.


First Published: Wednesday, April 11, 2012 - 14:01

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