Indian soldiers missing after deadly Kashmir avalanche

Srinagar on January 19, 2012 Kashmir has received some of its heaviest snowfall in years

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One Indian soldier has been killed and seven others are missing after a massive avalanche hit a morning patrol in Indian-administered Kashmir.

The incident took place in Kupwara, 140km (87 miles) from Srinagar city.

The body of a senior officer has been recovered, an army spokesman told the BBC. He said a rescue operation had been launched to find the missing.

Kashmir has been hit by extreme snowfall, with temperatures dipping to as low as minus 20C.

Officials said a joint team of army and Border Security Force (BSF) personnel had been deployed to clear snow from a patrol track in Farkiyan Gali.

"As the soldiers were clearing the mountainous area on Tuesday morning, a massive avalanche trapped them," the spokesman said.

"We have sought help from the air force and a special team from the high altitude warfare division is on its way to Kupwara. The avalanche is massive, but we hope to find a few survivors," he said.

A large number of Indian soldiers are deployed along the 740km (460 mile) Line of Control which divides the disputed territory of Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

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