Siachen avalanche survivor passes away in Delhi hospital

RSTV Bureau
File Photo of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. Photo-PTI

File Photo of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad.
Photo-PTI

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, the Indian soldier who was battling for his life at a city hospital after surviving the Siachen avalanche, passed away on Thursday morning. Hanamanthappa was critical for the past few days and had slipped into deeper coma before he passed away.

“Lance Naik Hanamanthappa is no more. He breathed his last at 11:45 AM today,” a senior army official said.

The 33-year-old soldier of the 19th Battalion of Madras Regiment is survived by his wife Mahadevi Ashok Bilebal and two-year-old daughter Netra Koppad.

“He leaves us sad & devastated. RIP Lance Naik Hanamanthappa. The soldier in you remains immortal. Proud that martyrs like you served India,” said PM Modi on twitter. The Prime Minister had also visited the soldier at the army hospital on Tuesday.

The soldier had survived under 25 feet of snow in Siachen for 6 days, before he was rescued by the Indian Army.

On Tuesday morning he was flown to Delhi in a special air ambulance and admitted in the Research and Referral Hospital in south Delhi.

Two days after the Indian Army declared dead the 10 Indian jawans who went missing after the Kashmir avalanche, the jawan was pulled out from under 25-feet of snow at the Siachen glacier. And miraculously, he was still alive six days after being buried under the snow in extreme cold conditions where temperature dipped to -45 degrees Celsius.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa was the only survivor among the 10 Indian soldiers who went missing on February 3 after the massive avalanche struck the Kashmir region near the Siachen glacier. The soldier, who belongs to the Madras regiment was deployed in Siachen to guard the Indian post there. The soldiers went missing after their post, which is close to the Line of Control with Pakistan, was hit by the avalanche.

“It was a miraculous rescue but Lance Naik Hanumanthappa is critical. All other soldiers are regrettably no more with us,” Lt Gen DS Hooda, Northern Army Commander had said after he was rescued.

Army teams found him after days of sifting through a huge mass of ice in the treacherous region, sometimes digging more than 30 feet, the Commander said.

Hanamanthappa Koppad, who had joined the Army 13 years ago, was a resident of village Betadur in Dharwad district of Karnataka.

(With inputs from PTI)