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Five rescued soldiers succumb

Another tragedy befell the Indian Army when five soldiers, who were rescued by Specialised Avalanche Rescue Teams (ARTs) from the mounds of snow near the Line of Control at Machil sector on Saturday, succumbed to their wounds on Monday.

Five soldiers of 56 Rashtriya Rifles were on a patrol on Saturday morning when the snow track suddenly caved in. All the soldiers were trapped under the mounds of snow. Indian army quickly mobilised ARTs and after strenuous efforts all the five soldiers were taken-out.

The soldiers were shifted to the army hospital in Machil for treatment. However they required specialised treatment which was only available in army’s 92-base hospital in Srinagar and outside the valley.

However, due to inclement weather, the choppers were not able to fly to Machil sector to airlift the injured soldiers to Srinagar. On Monday, by the time the army choppers managed to airlift the injured to Srinagar, it was too late, due to which all the five rescued soldiers succumbed to their wounds. With Machil tragedy, the death toll of soldiers has risen to 10 in the killer snow avalanches that hit army formations in Gurez, Sonamarg and Machil since Wednesday.

“Five army soldiers who had been trapped under snow after the caving in of track in Machill sector on January 28 and subsequently rescued after a gruelling day-long mission, were on Monday evacuated to Srinagar, despite persistent poor weather conditions, for specialised medical care. Unfortunately, all the brave hearts have succumbed to their injuries”, said Colonel NN Joshi, defence spokesman at Northern Command.

The mortal remains of 14 martyrs in Gurez, which could not be evacuated earlier because of the inclement weather, were also brought to Srinagar on Sunday in Air Force helicopters. “The mortal remains of the brave soldiers will be taken to their native places on Tuesday for the last rites,” he said.