At least ten soldiers were killed after two avalanches struck at Neeru village near Line of Control in Tulail tehsil of Gurez valley in North Kashmir's Bandipora district on the intervening night of Wednesday/Thursday.
An official said that ten soldiers of Army's 51 RR unit stationed at Neeru village were killed when two avalanches struck the army post and patrol party there, while as four army soldiers were still untraced.
"Fifteen soldiers went missing after two avalanches struck 51 RR post and a patrol party, of whom bodies of ten were recovered from Gurez.
"Rescue operations were immediately launched in extremely bad weather conditions and heavy snowfall to trace the missing soldiers.
"The bad weather conditions are hampering the rescue operation. The bodies of ten soldiers were retrieved after persistent efforts while four are still untraced," he said.
He identified the deceased soldiers as: Sepoy Samunder Jacob, Sepoy Anand Gawai, Sepoy Sandip Kumar, Sepoy Azad Singh, Sepoy Sunil Patil, Sepoy Sunder Panday, Sepoy Aliwar Sain, Havaldar Vijay Kumar Shukla, Sepoy Sanjay Khandare and Sepoy Davinder Soni.
SP Bandipora Zulfikar Azad told Greater Kashmir that ten bodies have so far been recovered. "One soldier was rescued alive while four others are still missing. A rescue operation is going on," he said.
Meanwhile, Army spokesperson based in Srinagar, Col Rajesh Kalia confirmed to Greater Kashmir that bodies of ten soldiers have been retrieved where the avalanches had struck.
The risk of avalanches is growing as the area continues to receive heavy snowfall for past three days. District administration has also sounded an alert asking people to remain indoors and not to venture out in avalanche prone areas.
Earlier, on Wednesday four members of a family were buried alive after an avalanche hit their house in Badugam village of Gurez valley.
Gurez valley and Razdan Top have received 7 feet and 10 feet fresh snow respectively during past three days making the area prone to avalanches.
On February 23, 2012, a massive avalanche had struck the 'workshop area' of 109 Infantry Brigade Dawar area of Gurez sector, in which thirteen soldiers including four Junior Commissioned Officers had lost their lives and as many had been rescued.