Siachen Glacier: Pakistan army hopes miracle will save avalanche victims

Published: April 8, 2012

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 another 24 hours later.

Around 200 military personnel and 100 civilians are taking part in the rescue operation. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is also present at the site.

Apart from bulldozers and excavators, chemicals are used to melt the ice. Due to harsh weather and great height, the rescue work is slow.

According to an official, the chances of survival decrease with every passing day.  “If the avalanche broke into the military barracks, then the survival chances are very low; if not, then we can hope they may be safe,” he said.

The avalanche engulfed Pakistan army headquarters near a glacier early on Saturday, leaving snow up to 80 feet (25 metres) deep over an area a kilometre wide.

The victims are trapped in one of the most unforgiving environments on Earth, at an altitude of 15,000 feet (4,500 metres) 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.

Eleven civilian employees of the military were buried under the snow along with the soldiers of the 6 Northern Light Infantry Battalion, the military said in a statement.

The army listed the names of the missing on its public relations website, from officers to waiters to barbers.

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Reader Comments (70)

  • Aadi Virgo
    Apr 8, 2012 - 12:57PM

    I hope everything is safe n sound with army personnels

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  • Apr 8, 2012 - 1:01PM

    Pakistan prays (with a heavy heart) for its sons who are trapped by the avalanche.
    We hope they survive & are recovered safely. Our sincere best wishes for them and their families.

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  • Saad
    Apr 8, 2012 - 1:02PM

    such a sad day in the history of Pakistan Army!. My heart goes out to the families of these soldiers who are there to protect our beloved nation.

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  • Chilli
    Apr 8, 2012 - 1:09PM

    I pray for their safety. After all they are facing this hardship because of our safety. May Allah save their lives and give their families courage to face this event.

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  • Maulana tharra
    Apr 8, 2012 - 1:18PM

    Pray for the safety of the soldiers and civilians.
    Wish both sides come to their senses and stop senseless loss of life on both sides.

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  • Pakistani Agnostic
    Apr 8, 2012 - 1:24PM

    Soldiers. Remember, the whole nation prays for your safety

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  • major-ji
    Apr 8, 2012 - 1:31PM

    The only and that too very remote possibility, is the revival of those bodies who are freezed at a certain point and when recovered are provided immediate special resparatory and heating techiniques. Hope army medical authrities shall be catering for it. For birds and animals it has proved many times successful. Let us pray to Almighty and hope for the best.

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  • MarkH
    Apr 8, 2012 - 1:51PM

    What? Am I not in a special club that’s allowed to post a comment in articles involving this topic now? Nothing of what I said could have offended anyone or even remotely be seen as negative. It was a picture perfect example of neutrality bordering on the positive.

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  • ashir
    Apr 8, 2012 - 2:16PM

    may there sole rest in peace

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  • THE
    Apr 8, 2012 - 2:16PM

    May Allah bless these brave souls and give them a high reward for their service. Ameen.
    The possiblity of anyone surviving in 80 ft of ice is very remote. But lets pray and dua for them.

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  • nadeem khan
    Apr 8, 2012 - 2:25PM

    UNPROFESSIONALISM…why they didnt judge the avalanch before time? they have been fighting in this region for a long time now and must be familier and have developed the technology to know the danger around? in these conditions one have only minutes or hours to dig-out alive….

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  • sonam
    Apr 8, 2012 - 2:33PM

    The,

    What is that high reward you are talking about ?

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  • Apr 8, 2012 - 2:36PM

    may god bless them :) me and my whole family is praying for our real heroes :) we love u guys u guys are the real superman’s for us !! <3
    \

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  • THE
    Apr 8, 2012 - 2:46PM

    @sonam: The high reward is them getting a high place in Jannah (Paradise) and their families getting patience after this huge loss.

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  • hassan
    Apr 8, 2012 - 2:46PM

    We beg from Allah for safety and surviveability of our brothers, who are brave sons, husbands and fathers too . . . .

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  • raw is war
    Apr 8, 2012 - 3:04PM

    release Rinkle Kumari. the soldiers will be safe.

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  • Curious
    Apr 8, 2012 - 3:09PM

    Makes me wonder if this is purely bad luck or is it the generals involved in construction of sub-standard bases with no life saving equipments?Recommend

  • MJT
    Apr 8, 2012 - 3:22PM

    @ Nadeem Khan: Avalanches cannot be judged, and they happend very quickly. As if a Tsunami could be judged.Recommend

  • Sunday
    Apr 8, 2012 - 3:40PM

    @nadeem khan: Total non-sense! Can you judge a Tsunami ? Have the most advanced nations in the world been able to judge an “avalanch before time”? Please try to keep your mouth shut if you don’t have anything senseable to say.

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  • Pakistan
    Apr 8, 2012 - 3:42PM

    May Allah bless my country and protect it from all calamities

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  • Apr 8, 2012 - 3:50PM

    Pray for Those who sacrifice their today for tomorrow

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  • Rehan
    Apr 8, 2012 - 3:51PM

    Hold on people. Pakistan population = 180 million people.
    Regards,
    Rehan

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  • Muhammad Naeem
    Apr 8, 2012 - 4:04PM

    May Allah Almighty save our beloved soldiers. Ameen

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  • True Muslim Paki
    Apr 8, 2012 - 4:22PM

    Where is the international support calls? Even our closest friends, the China & Muslim countries have not Pledged any support. :(

    Where’s hina? What’s PPP doing? Time for change has come, vote for PTI.

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  • Pakistani
    Apr 8, 2012 - 4:34PM

    @ Nadeem Khan : Japanese,the most high-tech nation, was also not able to avert Tsunami.So, how can you expect our army to have such a technology which could have prevented them from avalanche. Please be pragmatic, no technology on this planet can avert human beings from a disaster of such extreme nature.

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  • Zeta
    Apr 8, 2012 - 4:38PM

    The base was their for 20 years and nothing of this scale ever happend. It was fast and very unfortunate. May Allah bless the shaheeds. :(

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  • Apr 8, 2012 - 4:52PM

    i noticed one thing. read this article: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-17643625
    and notice what the last line says.
    “However, more soldiers have died from the harsh weather conditions there than in combat”.
    why were they deployed there in the first place?
    siachen is not a war zone. india is not our enemy.please move past your pakistan studies textbooks. bring the boys home. if you wish to deploy them, then do so in regions of actual combat. send them to syria, to libya, to afghanistan where muslims are oppressed. this is an army of a Muslim majority country. muslims around the world need them.
    and our army heads place them in siachen.
    sigh

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  • Born Political
    Apr 8, 2012 - 5:27PM

    Thanks for updating us on this ET. We own these 130 soldiers the same way we own our sons. I just checked TV channels and they are filled with presidents visit to India, which is total waste of time and resources.

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  • Nasir
    Apr 8, 2012 - 5:42PM

    @Born Political: our soldiers would not have been there in the first place if we were at peace with India.

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  • G.A.
    Apr 8, 2012 - 5:45PM

    I hope they all will be safe and sound and soon there will be some good news to hear… We all should pray for them.

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  • Bloch
    Apr 8, 2012 - 5:53PM

    I hope they are safe. Prayers of Pakistani nation is with you

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  • Apr 8, 2012 - 6:23PM

    @Reaching out to the left: the army is there because India brought in its troops there in the first place and claimed it to be India’s land. You weren’t thinking they were there just for the heck if it, were you?

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  • Muhammad Ali
    Apr 8, 2012 - 6:43PM

    We beg from Allah for safety and surviveability of our brothers, who are brave sons, husbands and fathers too . . .

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  • jason
    Apr 8, 2012 - 6:54PM

    Very sad story… but I can’t help but notice they had waiters and barbers up there with them. Why can’t soldiers cut their own hair and serve themselves?

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  • Khurram Mansoor
    Apr 8, 2012 - 7:18PM

    @jason:
    Its a permanent postRecommend

  • Khurram Mansoor
    Apr 8, 2012 - 7:20PM

    “Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani is also present at the site”

    and whats the stance of the President Zardari, I did not see any press release from him or involvement.

    May Allah protect all

    and I do see some stupid posts by @Reaching out to the left @nadeemkhan.

    May Allah give them some senseRecommend

  • Sahibzada Shabir
    Apr 8, 2012 - 7:25PM

    Prayers please

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  • Not me
    Apr 8, 2012 - 7:59PM

    Pakistan should develop avalanche search and rescue capacity.Due to climate change more such incidence are likely.At present the only NGO who have avalanche search and rescue equipment and capacity is FOCUS Humanitarian Assistance but even they do not have very high altitude capacity.

    Our prayers are for the brave soldiers

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  • Blithe
    Apr 8, 2012 - 8:09PM

    Choicest prayers for them!

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  • Zeta
    Apr 8, 2012 - 8:25PM

    @Reaching out to the left:
    Dude i don’t know where have you been living all these years. You blame Pakistani studies, So you think that india studies completely true? Anyway leave this for some other time.
    There are multiple issues with India and none of them are of ordinaty level. Kashmir, Water, Terrorism in Pakistan, They are certainly not a friend if not enemy in your opinion. Go over their newspapers and forums and look how they are rejoicing this terrible tragedy.

    Know that it was india who brought troops to siachen first. Pakistan still have less than half troops there than india.

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  • Jibran
    Apr 8, 2012 - 8:44PM

    If we can bring peace with India, and resolve the Siachen issue, that will be the best tribute to the soldiers who lost their lives.

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  • Sajida
    Apr 8, 2012 - 9:08PM

    Both armies need to get off this glacier. Not only will it save wastage of precious lives lost on this stupid standoff;but, it will help the glacier whose condition affects millions of people in both these countries.
    “Siachen, the planet’s second longest glacier outside the polar regions, is retreating at an alarming 110 metres a year.”
    http://www.thenational.ae/news/world/south-asia/war-zones-melting-glacier-a-colossal-risk
    War zone’s melting glacier a ‘colossal’ risk
    When will sanity prevail?

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  • Hairaan
    Apr 8, 2012 - 9:09PM

    All muslims are requested to please pray for our soldiers and recite Ayat-e-karima. This is Hazrat Younus’ prayer when he was trapped.Recommend

  • usmanx
    Apr 8, 2012 - 9:59PM

    We have many faults but siachen should not be rested upon Pakistan’s shoulders. The WHOLE world, when visiting siachen, would ask for visa from Pakistan. India invaded this area – we are there simply to defend our territory from further encroachment. Kargil was an operation to wrest back this territory of ours.

    These men have a purpose, they are literally protecting our territory from further encroachment. I don’t think we should wage war with India – but nor do I think we should lay down our arms in the face of naked aggression.

    God bless you soldiers, the nation stands with you. I pray that we get to you. If not, let heaven be your playground soldier. Ameen.

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  • Mohammad Ali Siddiqui
    Apr 8, 2012 - 10:47PM

    I hope that with the arrival of 8 members of American Team, the authorities will be able to rescue the soldiers buried under the avalanche.

    Let’s all pray that all the soldiers should come out alive and meet their family members. Ameen.

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  • Sana
    Apr 8, 2012 - 11:45PM

    @Reaching out to the left:
    India is not our “enemy” and Pakistan is located near Australia. Right? Are you out of our mind? Kashmir is an unmarked territory and we are not the only one who deploy forces there. While you could debate that both countries should remove their forces but why only Pakistan? So India captures it.

    Besides, Pak army is meant for Pakistan, not for Muslims. Muslims in other regions should sort out their issues themselves. It’s not our job and neither our men are supposed to do their work.Recommend

  • Asad Shairani
    Apr 8, 2012 - 11:55PM

    I wish these brave soldiers, and others around the world, can be at home with their loved ones.

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  • Apr 8, 2012 - 11:58PM

    AOA, As we all are sad and this is really painful moment that our soldiers buried under snow and rescue work is going on. further some US experts reached there to help us. according to ISPR that this is 60-80 feet (height) block of snow on 1 square KM. i do not know very much but if they use small explosion (bomb to melt the snow) to clear the snow i think it will help them more quickly rather than clearing with snow with machines. coming days weather condition also not good in that area. -70 Celsius.
    Please Pray for our brave Army.

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  • adeel759
    Apr 9, 2012 - 1:36AM

    Very good COAS for personally overseeing the rescue ops. Lots of peayers for the brave Men.

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  • A. Khan
    Apr 9, 2012 - 1:58AM

    So my comment about risk mitigation is not “approved” but other inane ones about praying for safe return abound. Is someone going to be called to account on this gross dereliction of duty when selecting site for camp ?

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  • Pk
    Apr 9, 2012 - 5:56AM

    O Allah, please save our country’s bravest men.

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  • lil mosh
    Apr 9, 2012 - 9:20AM

    Title of this article is so wrong,or the writer simply doesn’t care,it should be “Pakistan” instead of Pakistan army!!!!!

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  • Apr 9, 2012 - 6:21PM

    @Hairaan:
    that will not work. History proved.

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  • Prof Waheed Uz Zaman Tariq, MBBS, PhD (Pb), DpBact (Manchester), FCPS (Pak), FRCPath (London), FRCP (Edinburgh)
    Apr 9, 2012 - 6:25PM

    It was a national tragedy. Those who have sacrificed their lives, I know them well, as I have myself served them for three decades as their healer and doctor. Most of them are innocent, loveable and not at all demanding. They have young families back home, live in isolation and wait for leave to reunite the families. WIth little in hand, they smile with grace and have a dignity in their gait and confidence on face. Despite all teh criticism and rude remarks of teh society they lay their lives quietly, calmly and without any complaint. The nation cannot pay them back. There are those who make fun them and ridicule even the dead ones. God is all ove and hatred comes from evil. Let us love humainity beyond the bondries of colour, ethnicity and nation.

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  • S.Khan
    Apr 10, 2012 - 12:43AM

    @Reaching out to the left:
    I hope this is your opinion, to which everyone is entitled. However, you are not entitled to have your own facts. There are excellent references if you don’t approve of the text books that can clear your ‘delusions’. Our soldiers don’t die for the fun of it. It is useless to debate it with anyone who doesn’t know why are we there in the first place?

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  • S.Khan
    Apr 10, 2012 - 1:00AM

    May Allah bless the souls of those who guard our borders. Their bodies may be buried under tons of snow but their souls are will be in the best of places. Those who have been to Siachen can tell you what a mystery that place is. It is no place for an ordinary man. These soldiers are Allah almighty’s chosen people in body and in spirit. I envy the families of these brave men. May Allah lighten the burden of their loss. Ameen. Pakistan Zidabad!

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  • akbar hussain
    Apr 10, 2012 - 10:33AM

    may ALLAH protect who sacrifice their today for our tomorrow. their brave families also part of this sacrifice

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  • Freedom Seeker
    Apr 10, 2012 - 12:39PM

    Long Live Pakistan Long live Army. Our hearts and souls are with those families who have dear ones trapped. May Allah give them courage and strength to face this hard time.

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  • adil
    Apr 11, 2012 - 10:05AM

    lots of prayers for the brave men of Pakistan army……….

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  • M Yousuf
    Apr 12, 2012 - 12:24AM

    @nadeem khan:
    We can’t wait for the enemies who will come and destroy us you are enough to do so.

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  • Ali butt
    Apr 12, 2012 - 1:48AM

    I want to go there and I want to help them desperately.
    I do anything 4 my country…love u my pakistan.

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  • JAVED SHAHID
    Apr 12, 2012 - 10:41AM

    AOA,

    This area is very important for Pakistan, Indian Army occupied this area in 1983, then Pakistani Army reached there and want to got possosion unfortunately bettle started between Indian & Pakistan Army, so many solders died due to bad weather,

    i thing both countries are required to close this area and return back without winning.

    i am praying for Pakistan Army

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  • Fahd
    Apr 12, 2012 - 4:53PM

    May Allah keep them safe and sound as “You Allah shows your colors in every aspect of our lives please show your Rahmut here too” Ameen…….

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  • waseem shah
    Apr 13, 2012 - 11:01AM

    please today after namaz-e-juma special pray for our great and brave solider

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  • darjat
    Apr 13, 2012 - 11:41AM

    It is time to revisit the belief and practices in provision of border security and protecting wilderness. The cost is too high. The very recent live example of disaster did show the no of causalities but human losses during the past over 3 decade is in thousands. In financial terms one article says Pakistan pays 200 to 300 $ per year and the costs are many times more to other side. Millions of people on both side are in absolute poverty!!!

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  • Ashar
    Apr 13, 2012 - 1:35PM

    What will happen if we vacate the entire posts of Siachin. This should be debated and brought to light, we have a government toppled because of this and a number of soldiers lost thier lives to secure world coldest hign point. The true stretegic improtance of this point should now be known to us so that we may actually pray for our people who are dying there other wise a parallel frustration will continue that they are losing thier lives for nothing but under some malafide political agenda of both sides.

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  • Apr 14, 2012 - 10:20AM

    **i love pakistan army pakistan army zindabad and i hope so the pakistan army

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  • Saad Shibli Asc
    Apr 17, 2012 - 9:36PM

    If siachen troops withdraw than it will be great decision in the interest of nation and country. Public fund can utilised for betterment of public. appolntment of army troop at siachen is watage of public funds lives. if expences of siachen utilised for production of electricity then shortage of electricity can reduce 50%. Saad Shibli Asc.

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  • Kamran khan
    May 2, 2012 - 2:26PM

    I pray for the safty of our brave army
    but my question is that any civilion or soilder is brought out the ice
    please tell me.

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  • Brig (R) Waheed Uz Zaman Tariq, MBBS, PhD, DpBact (Manchester), FCPS (Pak), FRCath (London), FRCP Edinburgh
    May 2, 2012 - 2:47PM

    I do pray but we are loosing the hope. I am a physician and have spent29 years in the Khaki uniform of Pakistan Army. I believe that after moe than one hour of burial of a person in the snow, the chances of life become remote if at all. I feel (I wish I may be wrong to say so) that all of them have embrased martyrdom and have laid their lived in the way of nation, Islama and Allah. So far we have not been able to find any resident of the camp, who lived there before the catastophy. Just pray for them and their families, who are undergoing such a great toture.

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