Sikkim: 17 soldiers rescued as avalanche hits Indian Army patrol; one missing

New Delhi, May 14

An Indian Army soldier is missing, another one injured and another 15 men has been rescued following a snow avalanche in the Lugnak La region in north Sikkim.

As per initial reports, a patrolling-cum-snow clearance party of 17-18 soldiers came under the avalanche on Thursday morning. “All the soldiers have been rescued except one. An intense search operation is in progress. An Army team has also been put on task,” military officials said. Among the rescued, one soldier is admitted with injuries to hospital.

The Lugnak La is 16,700-ft high Himalayan pass. In the past one week this is the third accident in North Sikkim, a high plateau abutting China. There has been a crash landing of an Mi-17 helicopter, all six survived, then a Dhruv copter made a ‘hard landing’. Separate from the accidents, India and Chinese troops clashed.

Meanwhile, Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) has started operational weather and avalanche forecasting for critical sites in Sikkim, which has been experiencing climatic changes and deviation in snow precipitation.

A new technology demonstrator project, Snow and Avalanche Hazard Assessment of Sikkim (SAHAS), has been taken up by SASE to provide engineering solutions for avalanche mitigation and control in the strategically sensitive north-eastern state.

The SASE is a Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO)  laboratory based at Chandigarh and is tasked with mountain meteorology and avalanche forecasting, artificial triggering and structural control in snowbound high altitude areas, mountain hazard mapping snow geo-intelligence and snow climate research.

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