Eight persons were killed and two seriously injured when an avalanche hit a police post near the Jawahar Tunnel on the strategic Jammu-Srinagar highway.

Two injured policemen were on Friday morning rescued by a joint team of the Army and Police. The avalanche hit the police post on Thursday evening and also blocked the tunnel.

Police confirmed that seven bodies, including 5 of policemen, were recovered in the afternoon by the rescue teams. Body of one more policeman was being searched.

Among those trapped in the avalanche were six policemen, two fire service personnel and two prisoners who were being brought to a jail in Jammu.

Rescue parties were rushed to the spot last night but they were unable to reach the police post because of continuous snowfall and high-velocity cold winds.

Two of the trapped persons were rescued this morning and rushed to the hospital at Qazigund in the valley.

Avalanches in other parts of J-K

Nine houses and a primary school building were hit by avalanches in the Mangith and Mahu villages of Ramban in Jammu but no loss of life was reported. The affected persons were rescued and shifted to safe places.

The Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) of the defence ministry had on Wednesday issued warning of avalanches hitting in at least 16 districts of the state.

The police had last night rescued 78 families from an avalanche prone area of the Kulgam district of South Kashmir. In a similar operation, 124 persons, including women and children, were also rescued in the Ganderbal district of central Kashmir.

The Jammu-Srinagar highway remained blocked with snow and landslides for the third day as a result of which the authorities in Kashmir have ordered rationing of petrol for vehicles.

Many areas of the state have recorded 6 ft of snowfall that was the highest during the past few years.

The situation was worst in the Ramban district of Jammu division where out of a total number of 110 interior roads, 100 were still blocked with snow or landslides. The authorities have cleared most roads in the Kashmir valley.

Authorities were making efforts to restore electric and water supply in the affected areas.