Hope Lies on Transceivers’ Pulse Beacon As 10 Brave Soldiers Trapped In Slab Avalanche

An Avalanche Transceiver Beacon (representative photo)
Shailesh Kumar,
New Delhi, 3rd February 2016
Ten Indian Army soldiers went missing after a massive avalanche hit their post early this morning in Northern Siachen. According to sources in Indian Army, an ice wall fell on the post at unknown location (classified) in Northern Siachen today. All efforts are on to search and rescue the trapped soldiers. While the fate of avalanche hit soldiers is still uncertain, all hope lies on the avalanche transceiver, which every person in such inhospitable condition is supposed to wear tightly clinging to his chest. In avalanche situation the transceiver automatically get activated and transmits beacon signals, which can help rescue team to find the trapped person.  

“In the early hours of 3rd February, a major avalanche struck an Indian Army Post in Northern Siachen Glacier located at a height of 19600 feet. The post was manned by one Junior Commissioned Officer and nine soldiers. Rescue operations by specialized teams from Army and Air Force are underway to rescue the soldiers. The rescue operations are being closely monitored from Leh and Udhampur”, stated a press statement from Indian Army.

Avalanche (representative photo)
“Last year there was an avalanche on Mount Everest, my husband Loveraj was also there but he saved himself by taking shelter of a rock. A few died in the incident, some lucky one survived”, said Reena Kaushal Dharmshaktu, first Indian Woman to Ski to South Pole. “It all depends on what kind of avalanche was it. If it was a slab avalanche, then its depth matters a lot. But many times, slab avalanche turns out to be superficial also”, adds Reena, whose husband, Loveraj has tracked Mount Everest five times.  

According to sources, Cheeta and Chetak helicopters from Indian Army and Mi-17 choppers of Indian Air Force were pressed into the search and rescue operation. The specialized troops from High Altitude Warfare School, dog squads and snow scooters were part of the teams deployed for the rescue of the trapped soldiers.

Reena Kaushal Dharmshaktu
If the troops trapped in avalanche wore transceivers, then it will be easier for the rescue teams to trace their location. Avalanche transceiver is  an active radio beacon operating at 457 kHz and specialized for the purpose of finding people or equipment buried under snow. When the wearer is trapped in avalanche or sets out on a skiing descent, the transceiver is activated, causing the device to emit a low-power pulsed beacon signal.

Following an avalanche, and if the holder of the transceiver is safe and has not themselves been caught by the avalanche, they may switch the transceiver from transmit into receive mode, allowing use as a radio direction finding device to search for signals coming from other skiers' transmitter beacons who may be trapped. Any of such signals may significantly reduce the time for search and rescue operation.

“If someone is caught in the avalanche, transceiver automatically turns on. And if rescue party reaches, then they easily find the trapped person. It saves a lot of time. This has to be worn tightly clinging to the chest so that it doesn’t get detached. It is a common practice in USA. I am not sure if it is being followed here in India”, elaborated Reena.

Siachen glacier in the Himalaya mountains is world’s highest and coldest militarized zone. Hundreds of soldiers so far have lost their lives owing to avalanche, landslides, frostbites and heart failure. Despite such harsh conditions and danger involved, Indian Army soldiers bravely maintain the sanctity and sovereignty of Indian land risking their lives.  
Hope Lies on Transceivers’ Pulse Beacon As 10 Brave Soldiers Trapped In Slab Avalanche Hope Lies on Transceivers’ Pulse Beacon As 10 Brave Soldiers Trapped In Slab Avalanche Reviewed by Shailesh Kumar on 12:00:00 AM Rating: 5
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