ISLAMABAD: Landslides triggered by heavy snow killed three soldiers and left 18 other people missing on Friday in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, the military said.
The incident took place in the Kel area on the line of control with India, and the Pakistani military said a rescue operation was under way. The missing were eight soldiers and 10 civilians.
A first landslide hit early Friday, killing the three soldiers, said Raja Saqib Majeed, deputy commissioner of Neelam district, of which Kel is part.
Later in the morning the 10 civilians and eight soldiers made it to the site to search for, he told AFP.
“Another landslide hit this rescue party and they were buried under it,” he added.
The bodies of the three soldiers had been recovered but rescuers were still hunting for the eight soldiers and 10 civilians from the search party, local official Raja Saqib Majeed told AFP.
“We hope that rescue workers will find some of them alive. Lets hope for the best,” he said, but added that efforts were being hampered by continued bad weather.
Local police official Mohammad Musa said there was heavy snow fall in the past 24 hours in the area and cloud cover was still thick.
Avalanches and landslides frequently block roads and leave communities isolated in the mountains of Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.
Pakistan saw its worst avalanche in April when 139 soldiers and 11 civilians were buried alive in the the 13,000-feet-high Gyari sector of Siachen.
The site is 4,000 metres (13,000 feet) up in the mountains, just below the glacier where Pakistani and Indian troops have faced off since the 1980s.