Seven soldiers died in Kazakhstan after being hit by an avalanche during a military exercise, emergency services in the Central Asian country said Friday.
"Sixteen soldiers were rescued. Unfortunately seven soldiers were found dead," Ruslan Imankulov, spokesman for Kazakhstan's emergency situations committee, told AFP by telephone.
"We hope the number of casualties will not rise."
The soldiers were participating in a military exercise in the southern Jambyl region when the avalanche struck, the defence ministry said in a statement.
The defence ministry did not say how many soldiers were involved in the exercise.
Avalanches are common in mountainous parts of Central Asia.
To the south of Kazakhstan are Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which are both over 90 percent mountainous.
Tajikistan last week appealed for foreign assistance as the death toll from avalanches across the country reached 13.