While the harsh weather persisted, rescue efforts have been stepped up at the site of the avalanche near the Siachen Glacier as teams from the US, Germany and Switzerland have arrived in Giari to assist the military.
A spokesman for the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) said on Thursday that members of the US team would survey the site on Friday where a wall of snow crashed into a Pakistan Army camp on Saturday, burying 138 people, to assess the nature of the work required and equipment needed.
Teams from China and Norway were also expected to reach the incident site in the next 24-48 hours, the military said.
Talking to The Express Tribune, ISPR Director-General Major-General Athar Abbas said that although the chances of finding the trapped men alive were remote, but he was still optimistic. Due to the boulders and soft snow, sometimes holes and air pockets occur in the avalanche that helps the air pass through. And if that happened in our case, then I am still hoping that we would find some people alive.”
Another “priority point” (point number six) has been added to the previously five identified points in search of the 138 buried — of which 127 were soldiers of the 6 Northern Light Infantry Battalion and 11 civilian employees including waiters, barbers and a tailor.
According to the ISPR, 15 heavy machines which include dumpers, dozers, excavators and loaders are working at the search site at present.
Up to 115-foot deep excavation has been carried out at point one and work would start at a 130-foot long horizontal tunnel with a diameter of three meters to gain access to the accommodation area. At point two, excavation work has gone down to 100 feet.
The weather continued to be harsh and unpredictable, posing operational and administrative difficulties for both men and machines busy in the rescue operation. The Meteorological Department has forecast more snowfall in Siachen for Friday.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 13th, 2012.
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