Siachen avalanche survivor still critical; PM pays a visit

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

File Photo of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa.

Lance Naik  Hanamanthappa, the Indian soldier who survived under 25 feet of snow in Siachen for 6 days, continues to be critical. On Tuesday morning he was flown to Delhi in a special air ambulance and admitted in the Research and Referral Hospital in south Delhi.

Hanamanthappa is in comatose and continues to be in shock with low blood pressure, said RR Hospital’s medical bulletin on Tuesday afternoon.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Lance at the army hospital where team of specialised doctors are attending to him.

“No words are enough to describe the endurance & indomitable spirit of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. He is an outstanding soldier, we are all hoping and praying for the best,” PM Modi tweeted after meeting him.

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 is 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.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Army Chief General Didar Singh Photo-Twitter

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Army Chief General Dalbir Singh Suhag

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

For the last 6 days, Army teams have been sifting through the huge mass of ice in the treacherous region, sometimes digging more than 30 feet to find the soldiers, said the Commander.

Frequent snow blizzards, extreme freezing temperatures and low visibility were obstructing the army’s efforts on the ground. A new camp has been established at the location to coordinate the rescue efforts as well as to continue vigil in the sensitive area, he added.

“Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified,” revealed the Commander.

The army man, who belongs to the Madras regiment is a native of Dharwad in Karnataka. His wife Madhvi was extremely relieved after she heard the story of Lance’s survival.

“We are considering it as his rebirth. I am overwhelmed. I want to meet him soon,” said Madhavi on Tuesday morning.

(With inputs from PTI)