India military death toll rises to 14 in Kashmir avalanche

India military death toll rises to 14 in Kashmir avalanche

SRINAGAR, India — The death toll from two avalanches that struck the Himalayan region of Kashmir has risen to 14 as the bodies of four more Indian soldiers were recovered, the Indian army said Friday.

Army spokesman Col. Rajesh Kalia said rescuers recovered the bodies early Friday after digging through piles of snow in the Gurez sector near the de facto frontier that separates the Indian and Pakistani portions of the region.

Separate avalanches buried a military post and swept away a patrol on Wednesday night in Gurez, burying a total of 21 Indian soldiers. Seven soldiers were rescued.

Kalia said bad weather, including heavy snowfall, hampered rescue operations.

Authorities in Indian-controlled Kashmir have issued avalanche warnings for many parts of the region, as the heavy snowfall has cut off roads, disrupted power and communication lines, and forced the evacuation of hundreds of residents.

Earlier Wednesday, four members of a family and an Indian army officer were killed when they were buried by two separate avalanches.

Avalanches and landslides are common in Kashmir, and have caused heavy tolls among the Indian and Pakistani armies.

At least 14 soldiers were killed in two avalanches last year, and in 2012 a massive avalanche in the Pakistan-controlled part killed 140 people, including 129 Pakistani soldiers.

The Associated Press