NEW DELHI – At least 16 people were feared dead as an avalanche swept away a tiny mountain village in India's portion of Kashmir (search), police said Monday, raising the toll from a series of avalanches and landslides over the weekend to 41.
The avalanche — triggered by the region's worst snowfall in 15 years — hit Branil village around midnight, when most residents were sleeping, said Khursheed Ganai, a senior administrator of Kashmir valley (search).
Five bodies have been recovered and another 11 people were buried under 20 feet of snow and presumed dead, Ganai told the Associated Press.
The deaths in Branil, about 45 miles, south of Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu-Kashmir state, raised the toll from a series of avalanches and landslides during the weekend to 41.
More than 100 people are missing across the disputed Himalayan (search) region, which shares a border with Pakistan, since the snowfall began Friday. The valley remained cut off from the rest of India for the third straight day Monday as a key highway was blocked.