#IndiaSalutes: From Rahul to Modi, leaders pay respect to Siachen hero

  • HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times, New Delhi
  • Updated: Feb 11, 2016 15:12 IST
Hubli : Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad's mother and wife at their home in Betadoor village in Hubli on Tuesday. Politicians across the country are paying their respects to the Lance Naik, who died in an Army Hospital on Thursday. (PTI Photo)

Politicians across India paid their respects to Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, the lone survivor of an avalanche in Siachen Glacier, who died in an Army hospital in Delhi at 1145AM on Thursday.

“He leaves us sad and devastated,” tweeted Prime minister Narendra Modi.

“Lance Naik Hanumanthappa has shown the world the meaning of perseverance and courage,” said Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi.

Koppad and nine other soldiers were swept away by an avalanche at the Siachen glacier on February 3, at an altitude of around 19,500 feet.

He was found on Monday, miraculously alive after being buried under 35-feet of snow for six days but in a critical condition.

At the time of his rescue, Koppad was conscious but drowsy, disoriented and severely dehydrated. On Wednesday, he went into coma, sending a nation into a collective prayer for his recovery.

Koppad belonged to the Madras Regiment, which has a reputation for being one of the toughest Regiments to be stationed at Siachen. The 19th Madras Battalion, which Koppad was part of, is due to complete its 90-day deployment on the glacier.

Army officers said a powerful will to survive was critical in the soldier surviving for six days in such a harsh environment. “He fought hard for his survival. He didn’t give up. Else, he would have perished too,” said a senior army officer.

Koppad was receiving treatment at the Army Research and Referral Hospital by a team of specialists and surgeons.

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