All 7 Army personnel hit by avalanche in Arunachal Pradesh dead; Prez, PM express grief

All seven missing Army personnel who were struck by an avalanche in high altitude area of Kameng Sector in Arunachal Pradesh on February 6 were dead, the Indian Army said. An ANI input quoted the Army as saying their bodies were retrieved from the avalanche site.

President Ram Nath Kovind said the death of soldiers is a tragedy beyond words. “The brave soldiers laid down their lives for the service of the nation. Their selfless sacrifice will always be remembered. My condolences to their families,” the Rashtrapati Bhavan wrote on its official Twitter account.

Taking to Twitter, Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote, “Sadddened by the loss of lives of Indian Army personnel due to an avalanche in Arunachal Pradesh. We will never forget their exemplary service to our nation. Condolences to the bereaved families.”

Army chief General MM Naravane and officers of all ranks also offered their deepest deepest condolences to the bereaved families. 

Expressing his condolence, defence minister Rajnath Singh wrote, “Deeply pained by the demise of Indian Army personnel who were struck by an avalanche in Kemang Sector, Arunachal Pradesh. These brave soldiers lost their lives while serving the nation. I salute their courage and service. My heartfelt condolences to their bereaved families.”

Vice President Venkaiah Naidu also shared his grief over the loss of the lives. “Deeply saddened by the loss of lives of Army personnel who were struck by an avalanche while on a patrol at a high altitude area in Arunachal Pradesh. My thoughts are with the bereaved families in this hour of grief. Their selfless service to the nation will always be remembered.”

Union minister and Arunachal Pradesh MP Kiren Rijiju said, “I am deeply saddened by the loss of lives of 7 brave Indian Army Jawans, who were trapped in an avalanche in Kameng, Arunachal Pradesh. My heartfelt condolences to the bereaved families. May God give them strength to bear this tragic loss.

The seven Army personnel were part of a patrol team and had gone missing after being hit by the avalanche in Tawang district.

Sang Thinley, officer-in-charge of Dirang police station, had earlier said the incident happened along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) on Sunday. 

“Seven Army personnel of 19 JAK Rifles have been reportedly stuck by an avalanche in the area near Mammy Hut. Following the incident, Army officials had reported the incident at Jang police station. The area is very remote and all roads have been blocked due to snowfall,” Thinley was quoted as saying by ANI. 

Soon after, Tezpur-based Defence PRO Lt Col Harsh Wardhan Pande had said a search and rescue operation was underway. 

“Specialised teams have been airlifted to assist in rescue operations. The area has been witnessing inclement weather with heavy snowfall since the last few days,” Lt Col had said.

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