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Avalanches hit Indian Kashmir, killing 11 soldiers

From Mukhtar Ahmad, CNN
updated 2:06 AM EST, Thu February 23, 2012
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The avalanches hit two army camps Wednesday night
  • Bad weather hampers rescue efforts
  • The latest incident comes after an avalanche hit a joint force patrol last month, killing 7

Srinagar, India (CNN) -- Two avalanches swept over military camps in Indian-controlled Kashmir, killing at least 11 soldiers and leaving eight others missing, authorities said Thursday.

The avalanches hit the two army camps Wednesday in the health resort of Sonamarg and at Dawar, a town close to the line that divides Kashmir between India and Pakistan.

"The first avalanche hit the Sonamarg camp, burying several army troopers. We rescued all but three," said Lt. Col. J.S. Brar, a defense spokesman. "The bodies of two soldiers and an officer have been recovered."

A second avalanche hit the Dawar camp, burying 29 soldiers alive, the spokesman said.

"We safely rescued 13 troopers. Bodies of eight soldiers have also been recovered while a search for eight others is continuing," he said.

Bad weather was hampering rescue efforts.

The latest incident comes after an avalanche hit a joint patrol of the Indian army and border security forces last month in mountainous Keran area, killing all seven. One body was recovered while the rest are still buried under the snow.

Winter in Kashmir this season is harsher than previous years, with several snowfalls and sharp dips in temperatures.

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