A woman from Uttar Pradesh volunteered on Wednesday to donate her kidney to save a soldier who battled for his life in a hospital after surviving for almost a week buried under 35 feet of snow.
Nidhi Pandey, a housewife from UP’s Lakhimpur Kheri contacted the helpline of a local news channel, seeking to know how she could contact Delhi’s Army Research & Referral hospital to donate a kidney to Lance Naik Hanamananthappa Koppad.
Koppad was conscious when he was pulled out by army rescue teams on Monday but his condition has since deteriorated. He is in a coma and medical examinations have revealed liver and kidney dysfunction with doctors saying the next 24 hours would be crucial.
“The soldier’s condition remains the same. He is critical, and we are taking best care of him,” a doctor at the hospital told news agency IANS.
“His medical condition remains very critical. He remains ventilator dependent since arrival,” a medical statement said.
An outpouring of prayers and tribute continued on social media, with several Bollywood celebrities, including actors Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan tweeting for him. Mumbai’s iconic dabbawalas also held an event to pray for the soldier.
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Koppad was among 10 soldiers of the 19 Madras Regiment who were presumed dead after a blinding slide struck their post in the western Himalayas on February 3. None of the others survived.
He was rescued in a dangerous rescue mission, carried out at a height of 20,500 feet. The Madras Regiment soldiers were buried under snow after a massive wall of ice measuring 800ft by 400ft collapsed on their post. The ice debris covered an area spanning 1,000 metres by 800 metres, creating a nightmare for rescue teams racing against time to find survivors.
The operation involved more than 200 soldiers, avalanche rescue dogs, helicopters, rock drills, electrical saws and radars that can pick up metallic objects or heat signatures at a depth of 20m.
The men had to physically cut off ice blocks inch by inch as they went about looking for survivors. The dogs, Dot and Misha, came in for special praise from army officials.