Pak to dig 130-foot tunnel to rescue buried soldiers

Rescuers were focussing on six "priority points" at the army`s battalion headquarters in Gyari.

Islamabad: Pakistani troops are set to dig a
130-foot tunnel in their search for 138 people buried in an
avalanche in the Siachen sector, close to Indian borders, as
the rescue operation entered its fifth day on Thursday with no signs
of survivors.

Rescuers were focussing on six "priority points" at the
army`s battalion headquarters in Gyari, which was hit by the
avalanche on April 7.

"Work will start (on a) 130-foot-long horizontal tunnel
with a diameter of three meters to attain access to the
accommodation area," the military said in a statement.

The rescue teams had earlier focussed on five priority
points and a sixth was added today.

The army today also released photos of 94 of the 127
soldiers who were buried by the avalanche.

The military described the rescue operation at Gyari as
"massive", saying 15 heavy machines, including dumpers,
bulldozers, excavators and loaders, were working at the site.

At one point, rescuers had excavated up to 115 feet and at
another point, excavation work had gone down to 100 feet.

A 450-metre access track had been developed and improved
so that heavy vehicles could access the priority points, the
statement said.

However, the military said the rescue operation was being
hampered by "harsh and unfriendly" weather that is "posing
operational and administrative difficulties for both men and

The rescuers have found no trace so far of the 127
soldiers and 11 civilian employees who were buried when the
avalanche slammed into the battalion headquarters on April 7.

Experts have said there are unlikely to be any survivors
after the passage of five days since the incident.