A jawan who was buried under 25 feet of snow was on Monday found alive in a critical condition six days after an avalanche hit an army post in the Siachen glacier.
“It was a miraculous rescue, all efforts are being made to evacuate Lance Naik Hanaman Thappa to the RR hospital in the morning,” said Northern Army commander Lt Gen DS Hooda.
“Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified. All other soldiers are regrettably no more with us,” he told PTI.
The soldier, who hails from Karnataka, was found buried under snow clinging to life with barely a pulse.
A Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and nine other ranks of Madras Regiment were buried after their post was hit by the avalanche at an altitude of 19,600 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC).
Of the 10 soldiers presumed dead in #Siachen, one has survived. Lance Naik Hanuman Thappa is critical, pray for him. What a Miracle!— Rahul Singh (@rahulsinghx) February 8, 2016
Indian troops patrol the Siachen Glacier, dubbed the world’s highest battlefield, in the Kashmir region, which is disputed between India and Pakistan.
Avalanches and landslides are common in the area during winter and temperatures can drop as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.
Northern Army commander Lieut Gen DS Hooda: Regrettably all the other 9 soldiers buried in #Siachen avalanche no longer with us. Sad. RIP.— Rahul Singh (@rahulsinghx) February 8, 2016
An estimated 8,000 troops have died on the glacier since 1984, almost all of them from avalanches, landslides, frostbite, altitude sickness or heart failure rather than combat.
Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan fought over Siachen in 1987. But guns on the glacier have largely fallen silent since a peace process began in 2004.