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Rescuers search for 135 buried in snow after avalanche in the Himalayas

Staff writers

April 8, 2012 — Pakistani rescue workers continue to search for 135 people buried in an avalanche in mountain army base on Saturday.

The avalanche, which trapped 135 people, was about a square kilometre
The avalanche, which trapped 135 people, was about a square kilometre

A blanket of rock and snow, covering one square kilometre, slid over the military base near the northeastern city of Skardu early Saturday morning, according to a statement from the military.  "They are under the slide but we haven't lost hope. The rescue work is on, and we are keeping our fingers crossed." said Maj. Gen. Athar Abbas about the 124 soldiers, and 11 civilians yet to be found. 

One day after the disaster, rescue workers are using bulldozers to dig through 20 metres of snow covering the victims, and military officials say they are sending more heavy equipment to help soldiers dig through the rubble. Officials can not yet confirm whether or not bodies have been recovered. 

More than 200 troops and civilians worked at the scene Sunday with the aid of sniffer dogs and heavy machinery in an effort to dig through the 80 feet of snow, boulders, mud and slush in which buried the rear headquarters building in the Gayari area. Authorities published online a list of names of those buried. Abbas said the military had not been able to establish contact with anyone inside the base since the avalanche, but a rescue mission commander told him recoveries had been made. 

The Siachen glacier is about 5,500 metres above sea level and has been a point of conflict with neighboring India, which has maintained a year-round presence there since 1984. 

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