Jammu: The 10 Army personnel, including an officer, who were buried under a mass of snow after being hit by an avalanche at a high-altitude post on Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir, have been declared dead and identified.

SiachenSiachen glacier. Pic/Indian Army

Army and IAF tried hard since Friday to rescue the soldiers -- a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and nine other ranks of Madras Regiment -- after their post was hit by the avalanche at the altitude of 19,000 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.

Specialised teams with modern equipment, flown to Leh this morning, were also pressed into service along with sniffer dogs but all efforts to rescue them failed. "Demise of soldiers in Siachen is very tragic. I salute
the brave soldiers who gave their lives to the nation.

SiachenRescue operations in Siachen glacier. Pic/Indian Army

"Efforts to trace the 10 soldiers from the Indian Army did not yield much result until Friday afternoon said senior Army Officers speaking to mid-day from Udhampur.

The missing soldiers were attached to the Madras Regiment and were posted at an Army Post located at an altitude of 19600 feet, when a massive avalanche hit them in the wee hours of February 3.

In a press statement, the Army said, "Operations by specialised teams of the Army and the Air Force have entered the second day today. Specialised equipment was flown in to Leh today morning to further boost the rescue efforts. The glaciated area presents temperatures ranging from a minimum of minus 42 degrees in the night to maximum of minus 25 degrees during the day. Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors. However, it is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote."

Lt Gen DS Hooda, Army Commander, Northern Command has expressed his grief on the tragic incident. He said, "It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty," the statement concluded.

Meanwhile senior defence officials at New Delhi informed mid-day that until the rescue operation is not called off officially by the Indian Airforce and Army, they wont be officially revealing any details of the missing soliders.

A senior Army Official said, "It is a sad moment for us and at the same time a sensitive issue."

Condolences to their families," Prime Minister Narendra said, confirming the fears about their fate. "It is a tragic event and we salute the soldiers who braved all challenges to guard our frontiers and made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty," said Lt Gen DS Hooda, Army Commander, Northern Command, in a message.

Defence PRO based in Northern Command Col S D Goswami earlier said in statement in Jammu that "Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors. However, it is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote."

The glaciated area presents temperatures ranging from a minimum of minus 42 degrees Celsius in the night to maximum of minus 25 degrees C during the day.

- With inputs from agencies