Death toll from deadly IHK avalanches rises to 25

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NC Monitoring Desk

HELD SRINAGAR: The death toll from a series of avalanches in held Kashmir has climbed to 25 after five Indian soldiers pulled alive from beneath heavy snow died of their injuries, the Indian military said yesterday. The seriously injured troops were rescued Saturday after a day-long mission along the de facto border that divides the disputed territory with Pakistan. They had been approaching a border post along the Line of Control (LoC) when their track caved in. Hostile weather prevented the soldiers from being flown to a base hospital in the main city of Srinagar 140 kilometres away until Monday, but they succumbed to their injuries, the military said in a statement. They were the latest casualties from a series of avalanches in Indian-administered Kashmir, which is suffering one of its severest winters for decades. Last Wednesday, 15 Indian soldiers died when a patrol and two camps were hit by separate avalanches in the north of the disputed territory, also claimed by Pakistan. It took rescuers two days to retrieve their bodies from under tons of snow. Five civilians ? four from a single family ? also died in separate avalanches. Heavy snowfall was recorded across the region and temperatures dropped to –7 Celsius.

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