Pakistan rescue teams search for avalanche victims

By REUTERS
April 8, 2012 10:03

ISLAMABAD - Pakistan's military hoped for a miracle on Sunday as rescue teams searched for 124 soldiers and 11 civilians buried by a Himalayan avalanche near the Indian border, with no sign of survivors more 24 hours later.

The avalanche engulfed a Pakistani army battalion headquarters near a glacier early on Saturday, leaving snow up to 25 meters deep over an area a kilometer wide.

The victims are trapped in one of the most unforgiving environments on Earth, at an altitude of 4,500 meters near the Siachen Glacier in the Karakoram mountain range.

"Let's hope for a miracle," a military official, who asked to remain anonymous, told Reuters.

Helicopter rescue teams and troops on the ground with sniffer dogs were racing against time.

"On Wednesday and Thursday we expect cloudy conditions and some snow fall as well which will make it difficult for any rescue operations to continue," said meteorologist Mohammed Hanif on state television.


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