Sixteen army personnel, including three Junior Commissioned Officers (JCOs), were killed in a road accident at Zema in North Sikkim on Friday morning, 23 December, when their vehicle skidded off while navigating a sharp turn, the army said.
The truck was part of a three-vehicle convoy that was on its way from Chatten to Thangu.
"Deeply pained" over the loss of lives of the personnel, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said in a tweet, “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."
The army said in its statement, "In a tragic road accident, involving an Army truck on 23 December at Zema in North Sikkim, 16 bravehearts of the Indian Army have lost their lives."
"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 added.