Siachen soldier Lance Naik Hanamanthappa dies, nation pays tribute
Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who survived six days buried under a 25-feet avalanche in Siachen, died at an army hospital on Thursday.
Koppad was among 10 soldiers who were swept away by an ice wall on February 3 while guarding the Sonam post located some 20,500 feet high in the Himalayas.
Rescuers pulled out the 33-year-old soldier alive on Monday. His colleagues were found dead.
Koppad was brought to the Army Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi the same day. He died at 11.45 am, the army said.
At the time of rescue, Koppad was conscious but drowsy, disoriented and severely dehydrated. Later, he developed pneumonia and his liver and kidney became dysfunctional. On Wednesday, he went into coma, sending a nation into a collective prayer for his recovery.
For Koppad’s family, it was a cruel quirk of fate. His family and hundreds of people from his village had celebrated the news of his rescue. Some of them had been flown to New Delhi from their native place Dharwad, Karnataka, to be with Koppad, who belonged to the Madras Regiment.
But as the news of Koppad’s death broke, TV images showed the family plunging into grief. His father was seen breaking down with neighbours trying to comfort him.
Millions across the country had prayed that he recovers. But, that was not to be.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in paying homage to the dead army soldier, whom many TV stations called the “Siachen Hero” while others ran the news about him under the hashtag #SonsofSiachen.
“He leaves us sad and devastated. RIP Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. The soldier in you remains immortal. Proud that martyrs like you served India,” Modi said in a tweet.