Siachen Soldier Miraculously Survived For 6 Days Buried Under Tonnes Of Ice

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad,
Siachen Survivor
Shailesh Kumar,
New Delhi
Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad of Madras Regiment, who was buried under ice with 9 other Indian Army soldiers for 6 days miraculously survived. Indian Army rescuers has found him alive under 25 feet ice in a consistent search and rescue operation launched in the aftermath of avalanche that hit the Indian Army post in Siachen Glacier in early hours of 3rd February. According to sources Lance Naik Hanamanthappa is currently on ventilator on his way to Army R&R Hospital in Delhi. His survival under is termed as “Siachen Miracle” by various experts. All Indians are praying for his early recovery. Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad is resident of village Betadur in Dharwad District of Karnataka.

Spot in Siachen where avalanche hit Indian Army Post (file)
“In the ongoing rescue operation at Siachen, of the ten soldiers buried under ice Lance Naik Hanamanthappa has been found alive, all the other soldiers are regrettably no more with us”, said Lt. General DS Hooda,  Army commander, Northern Command. “The medical condition of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa is critical but all attempts are being made to evacuate him to RR hospital in the morning. We hope the miracle continues. Pray with us”, said Lt. Gen. Hooda in his official statement released late night.

"These 10 soldiers were in a prefabricated shelter (Army post). When about 25 to 30 feet snow and ice fell on the shelter, the structure collapsed giving way to the formation of some air pockets. These men were burried in snow with wood, snow and other things over them. This one man was frozen on ground but because of air bubble, he could manage to breath and hence survived the most inhospitable disaster", says Lt. General (Retd) Syed Ata Hasnain, who served as Commanding Officer in Siachen and recently retired as Military Secretary from Indian Army.

Spot where Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad
was burried under tonnes of ice (file)
Earlier, Prime Minister, Narendra Modi, Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar and Army Chief, General Dalbir Singh Suhag had passed on condolence messages. However, search and rescue operation by Indian Army continued and reinforcement with equipment including radar was sent for the recovery of possible survivors.

"The search and rescue efforts from Army were on from the time avalanche incident came to the notice of Indian Army. Given the situation, wherein whole ice wall had fallen on the post and all 10 soldiers burried alive, it is pertinent and a general practice that Prime Minister, Raksha Mantri pass general condolence messages", adds Lt. General Hasnain.

“It is a miracle and one can assume that ‘God is Indian’. How did he manage to have air pockets with tonnes of pressure over him is nothing less than a miracle”.

“He must have had grits and courage to survive under minus 40 degree almost like in a situation trapped in deep freezer”. One can just pray that he recovers and does not get any long term disability”, adds Air Vice Marshal (Retd) Manmohan Bahadur, director, Centre for Air Power Studies, who carried out multiple rescue operations in Siachen Glacier while in service.

Siachen glacier is the highest battlefield on earth. In 1984, Indian forces were deployed following the discovery that Pakistan is sending foreign excursion teams and expeditions with lision officer from Pakistani Army. The Line of Control northward of point NJ9842 is still not defined. Hundreds of Indian soldiers lost their lives to protect motherland. According to defence sources, withdrawal of soldiers from Siachen is not possible until the line is properly demarcated and delineated. Surviving in Siachen is itself a challenge, surviving blizzards, frostbite is courage but surviving avalanche buried under tonnes of ice is no less than a miracle. Indian Army’s efforts let this miracle happen as rescue operation in such inhospitable conditions in itself is no less than a miracle. 


Siachen Soldier Miraculously Survived For 6 Days Buried Under Tonnes Of Ice Siachen Soldier Miraculously Survived For 6 Days Buried Under Tonnes Of Ice Reviewed by Shailesh Kumar on 11:07:00 AM Rating: 5
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