Seven people, including six tourists, are missing after an avalanche in the the Sadhna Pass in the Kupwara District of Jammu and Kashmir at about 4.00 pm local time on Friday 5 January 2017. The avalanche hit a vehicle in which nine people were travelling, two of whom, including a child, were subsequently rescued by local emergency services.
The approximate location of the Sadhna Pass avalanche. Google Maps.
Avalanches are caused by the mechanical failure of snowpacks; essentially when the weight of the snow above a certain point exceeds the carrying capacity of the snow at that point to support its weight. This can happen for two reasons, because more snow falls upslope, causing the weight to rise, or because snow begins to melt downslope, causing the carrying capacity to fall. Avalanches may also be triggered by other events, such as Earthquakes or rockfalls. Contrary to what is often seen in films and on television, avalanches are not usually triggered by loud noises.
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