April 7, 2012
An avalanche has smashed into a Pakistani military base on a Himalayan glacier along the India border, burying more than 100 soldiers.
Pakistan’s military says the avalanche hit the base Saturday morning in the high-altitude Siachen Glacier region of northern Kashmir.
A Pakistani army spokesman told VOA’s Deewa Radio the avalanche buried at least 117 soldiers.
Pakistan’s High Commissioner in Britain, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, said about 150 people were in the military base, in an area 6,000 meters above sea level where temperatures can drop to minus 70 degrees celsius.
Helicopters, search dogs and troops were sent to the remote location to search for survivors, along with doctors and paramedics.
Pakistan and India each have thousands of troops stationed in Kashmir, which both nations claim. Territorial disputes over control of the rugged, mountainous region have sparked two wars between the two countries, and many lesser clashes, but over time, military experts say the inhospitable climate and avalanche-prone terrain have claimed more lives than gunfire.
The Siachen Glacier region is known as the world’s highest battlefield.
Pakistan and India have fought three wars since the partition of the subcontinent when they gained independence from Britain in 1947.
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