Siachen miracle: Shocking survival tales that inspired films

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 09, 2016 16:32 IST
Operations by the specialized teams of the Army and the Air Force in progress to search for the bodies of the soldiers hit by an avalanche, in Siachen. (PTI)

Six days, 40 feet of snow and Indian Army’s tireless search for 10 men lost after an avalanche in Siachen. It all ended in a ray of hope when one of the lost men, Hanumantappa Kopad, was found alive and India celebrated with #SiachenMiracle.

The Siachen glacier is the world’s highest battlefield at an altitude of 19,600 feet and located close to the Line of Control (LoC). Rescue personnel had to dig through almost 40 feet of frozen ice to find the surviving soldier and his dead comrades. The operation faced its own challenges like a raging blizzard, freezing temperatures and extremely low visibility. More men have died on the glacier due to bad weather than military operations in the past few years.

Read: How to survive an avalanche

While the country saluted its army’s determined search, Kopad’s resilience has left people stunned. This survival story is a victory of human spirit and many commented on social media how it seems like something from a film’s script.

Read: Soldier found alive after six days under the snow

We bring you a few other survival stories which were so dramatic and spectacular that they actually found their way to big screen. With man against the mountain, human spirit survived but the costs were phenomenal…

127 Hours (2010)

This true story of a mountain climber Aron Ralston is both gut-wrenching and inspiring. Out on an expedition in Utah, Ralston found his arm trapped under a fallen boulder in an isolated canyon. Over the next five days, Ralston braves the elements, ponders over his life and finally gathers the courage to amputate his own arm with a pocket knife. He would have to scale a 65-foot wall and walk eight miles before he could be rescued. Danny Boyle and James Franco brought alive this visceral story of human courage on the screen; a multiple Oscar winner.

Everest (2015)

The film brings to screen one of the deadliest episodes in Everest’s history where eight people lost their lives in one day while on separate expeditions. The day was equally important for the people who survived the perilous trek and a blizzard. It starred Jake Gyllenhaal and Directed by Baltasar Kormakur, the film raised important ecological questions while accepting that for the humanity the need to win the mountain will always be present. Why? Because it is there.

Touching the Void (2004)

A dream climb up the Siula Grande in the Peruvian Andes turns nightmarish when one of the two climbers gets injured. Despite trying his damndest to help his injured friend Simon Yates, Joe Simpson has to cut off the rope when a snowstorm begins and he is not even sure that Yates is alive. Plummeting to a certain death, Yates is lucky to land in a crevasse. Left to fend for himself without food, water or help, Yates crawled back to safety. In this meditation on extreme human endeavour, both survived to tell the tale. It was shot as a docu-drama and was directed by Kevin Macdonald.

The Way Back (2010)

The story of war prisoners during World War II who escaped from a Russian Gulag who walked 4,000 miles from Tibet to India. Based on a true story by a Polish POW, the film is a story of humans fighting the elements looking for the ephemeral concept called freedom. Some of them will perish before they reach their destination. The film directed by Peter Weir and stars Colin Farrell and Jim Sturgess.

Alive (1993)

After their plane crashed in the Andes during a flight to Chile, the passengers – including Uruguay football team -- survived for almost 10 weeks of extreme winter in the shell of their wrecked aircraft. They lived off wine, chocolate and the flesh of their dead comrades. At the end of it, three ventured out to look for help and two of them actually made it. The film starred Ethan Hawke and was directed by Frank Marshall.

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