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Siachen survivor Hanumanthappa fights for life, India prays for him

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday went to Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in Delhi to see Lance Naik Hanumanthappa who was miraculously found alive after remaining buried under huge mass of snow for six days at Siachen Glacier.

Siachen Tragedy Updated: Feb 09, 2016 19:10 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
Siachen survivor Hanumanthappa is critical and on a ventilator at the Army’s Research & Referral Hospital(Agency Photo)

The Indian Army soldier, Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, is currently in a comatose state and continues to be in shock with low blood pressure, an army statement released on Tuesday said.

The soldier, found alive six days after being presumed dead under 35 feet of snow, has been put on ventilator in ICU, and remains “extremely critical”, the medical bulletin said.

“He has been placed on a ventilator to protect his airway and lungs in view of his comatose state. He remains extremely critical and is expected to have a stormy course in the next 24 to 48 hours due to the complications caused by re-warming and establishment of blood flow to the cold parts of the body,” the bulletin said.

“He has pneumonia and his investigations have revealed liver and kidney dysfunction. Fortunately there was no cold exposure related frost bite or bony injuries to him,” it said.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Lance Naik Hanumanthappa at the Army’s Research & Referral Hospital .

“No words are enough to describe endurance & indomitable spirit of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. He’s an outstanding soldier,” Modi told ANI.

Hanumanthappa was miraculously found alive after remaining buried under huge mass of snow for six days at Siachen Glacier.

He was rushed to the hospital in a critical condition with a weak pulse on Tuesday.

He was the lone survivor out of group of ten Indian soldiers that was wiped out by an avalanche in the region last week.

Rajiv Chandrasekhar has announced that he will be making arrangements for the family to travel from their hometown in Karnataka to Delhi.

Read more: Rescued Siachen soldier on ventilator, army hopes miracle continues

12 pm: Family erupts in joy, says jawan triumphed death

As news spread of his rescue, his family erupted in joy and hundreds of villagers gathered at Dharwad in northern Karnataka.

“He is named after the god Hanuman, hence he triumphed death. We are all overwhelmed. We cannot stop crying,” his father told news channel CNN-IBN.

Watch | Siachen survivor’s family overjoyed

Read more: Soldier who was found alive being flown from Siachen Glacier to Delhi

His wife told news agencies that she was very happy and would go to a temple to offer her prayers. “I want to go see him,” she told ANI.

11 am Experts say jawan has little chance of survival

But experts said the jawan had little chance of survival as victims trapped in such harsh conditions – Siachen regularly reports temperatures in the range of -45 degree C – usually suffer extensive organ damage.

He was flown to Delhi in a C-17 aircraft of the Indian Air Force and taken to the Army Research & Referral Hospital in the Capital. A special medical team was accompanying him and doctors said his condition was stable but not out of danger.

“My prayers are with Lance Naik Hanumanthappa who miraculously survived the avalanche at Siachen,” defence minister Manohar Parrikar tweeted.

Social media also erupted in euphoria amid an outpouring of prayers for the jawan. But army authorities confirmed none of the other soldiers survived the avalanche.

“Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified. All other soldiers are regrettably no more with us,” Lt Gen DS Hooda told PTI.

Siachen is considered the highest battlefield in the world where thousands of soldiers have died over the decades, more often from the harsh conditions than from military offences. India moved into the Saltoro Range and the Siachen glacier in the mid-1980s following conflict with Pakistan over the disputed region.

(With inputs from agencies)


First Published: Feb 09, 2016 12:30 IST