Rescue operations are under way after an avalanche hit a Pakistani army base in the disputed Kashmir region, burying more than 100 soldiers under the Himalayan snow.
The soldiers were operating near the Siachen glacier in the northern tip of Kashmir when the avalanche hit in the early morning hours of Saturday.
"At six o'clock this morning this avalanche hit a [military] headquarters," Major-General Athar Abbas, the Pakistan military spokesman, said.
"Over 100 soldiers and personnel are trapped."
Abbas said a rescue operation using helicopters, search dogs and soldiers is under way but warned "it will take days to complete the rescue operations" due to the climate and the difficulty of terrain.
Despite describing the slide as "a massive scale avalanche", Abbas said Pakistani forces remain hopeful.
A team of doctors and paramedics has also been rushed to the high-altitude region, which suffers extreme weather conditions during winter, with temperatures on the Siachen glacier plummeting to as low as minus 70 degrees Celsius (minus 94F).
The Associated Press news agency quoted a security official as identifying the trapped battalion as being headquartered in Gayari sector.
Military sources have said that helicopters had been flown to what has been described as the "very remote location" on the glacier.
The Siachen glacier, on the tip of the Kashmir region that both Pakistan and India claim, is home to an estimated 15,000 soldiers from both nations.
Siachen, rising to 6,000 metres above sea level, has seen more soldiers die near the Karakoram base from weather-related incidents than gunfire since 1984.
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|William A. Cook|