Nine soldiers were killed after their vehicle skidded off the road and plunged into a deep gorge in Leh district of Ladakh on Saturday, reported news agency ANI quoting defence officials.

The incident happened in Kerey, located in the southern part of Ladakh's Nyoma region. As a response, authorities have initiated a rescue mission at the accident site.

According to officials, the accident occurred around 6.30 pm. "The troops were moving from Karu garrison to Kyari near Leh," officials added.

Senior Superintendent of Police of Leh P D Nitya told PTI that the Army vehicle, with 10 personnel on board, was on its way to Nyoma from Leh when its driver lost control and it plunged into a gorge at 4.45 pm.

A police team rushed to the spot and all the injured soldiers were shifted to an Army medical facility where eight personnel were declared dead. Another Jawan died subsequently.

The officer said one more Jawan was undergoing treatment and his condition was stated to be "critical". Defence Minister Rajnath Singh expressed grief over the death of Army personnel. He said, "saddened by the loss of Indian Army personnel due to an accident near Leh in Ladakh. We will never forget their exemplary service to our nation. "He added, "My thoughts are with the bereaved families. The injured personnel have been rushed to the Field Hospital. Praying for their speedy recovery."