Sixteen Indian Army personnel including three Junior Commissioned Officers (JCQs) were killed in a road accident when the vehicle they were travelling in fell into a gorge while negotiating a sharp turn at Zema in North Sikkim, the Army said.
It said four injured soldiers have been air evacuated.
“In a tragic road accident, involving an Army truck on December 23 at Zema in North Sikkim, 16 bravehearts of the Indian Army have lost their lives,” the Army said in the statement.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said he is “deeply pained” over the loss of lives of the personnel.
“The nation is deeply grateful for their service and commitment. My condolences to the bereaved families. Praying for the speedy recovery of those who are injured,” he said in a tweet.
The Army said the truck was part of a three-vehicle convoy that moved from Chatten in the morning towards Thangu.
“Enroute at Zema, the vehicle skidded down a steep slope while negotiating a sharp turn. A rescue mission was immediately launched, and four injured soldiers have been air evacuated,” the Army said.
“Unfortunately, three Junior Commissioned Officers and 13 soldiers succumbed to the injuries sustained in the accident. Indian Army stands firm with the bereaved families, at this hour of loss.” it said.