ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, April 9 (UPI) -- Poor weather kept a U.S. team of experts from reaching Siachen Glacier to help Pakistani officials search for 135 people buried by an avalanche, officials said.
Pakistani army Gen. Athar Abbas said Sunday it was unknown whether any of the people who were buried were still alive, Geo News reported Monday. At least 124 soldiers from the 6th Northern Light Infantry Battalion and 11 civilian contractors were missing.
The United States sent a team of experts Sunday to help Pakistan search for survivors who were buried by an avalanche that engulfed a military complex in Gayari sector Saturday, but the team couldn't leave for the rescue site because of a heavy, continuous snowfall, officials said.
India also offered assistance, PakTribune reported.
The base is in the Himalaya mountains on the Siachen Glacier, where thousands of Pakistani and Indian troops are stationed.
Pakistani army officials said 240 Pakistani troops and civilians were working at the disaster site, using specially trained dogs and heavy machinery. Officials said rescuers were having difficulty digging through about 80 feet of snow spread over an area of a little more than a half mile.
The Siachen Glacier is known as the world's highest battlefield, with soldiers deployed at elevations up to 22,000 feet and where harsh weather has killed more soldiers than combat