Siachen avalanche soldier found alive

Siachen avalanche soldier found alive

On February 3rd, 10 soldiers at an army post located on the Saltoro ridge, close to the border with Pakistan, on the northern Siachen Glacier were hit by an avalanche at an altitude of 19,600 feet. A wall of ice, a kilometer wide and 800 metres high, had come crashing down on their post, burying them under approximately 30 feet of snow.

Siachen avalanche soldier found alive

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Siachen avalanche soldier found alive

Hours after the Siachen avalanche, the base camp received a radio message from one of the jawans. Rescue operations launched immediately by the army did not seem that optimistic at first. However, today, on February 9th, one of the 10 jawans, Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad was found by the rescue team that had been chipping away at the ice for days. Buried under 25 feet of snow for 6 days, astonishingly, the jawan still had a pulse. Hanumanthappa was trapped in an air bubble, which miraculously saved his life.

Siachen avalanche soldier found alive

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Lieutenant General DS Hooda, the commander of the Northern Army, said:

“The medical condition of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa is critical but all attempts are being made to evacuate him to RR hospital in the morning.
We hope the miracle continues. Pray with us.”

For the soldier who had made the radio contact, unfortunately, there was no longer any hope. Lance Naik Hanumanthappa was the only survivor. Out of the remaining 9 soldiers, 5 bodies have been recovered so far and the other 4 bodies have been identified, and efforts are underway to recover them. The 9 soldiers killed in the Siachen avalanche were Subedar Nagesha TT, Havildar Elumalai, Lance Havildar S Kumar, Lance Naik Sudheesh B, Sepoy Mahesha PN, Sepoy Ganesan G, Sepoy Rama Moorthy N, Sepoy Mustaq Ahmed S and Sepoy Nursing Assistant Suryawanshi SV.

Siachen avalanche soldier found alive

Picture Source Siachen avalanche soldier found alive

The Army has already established a new camp at the location of the avalanche, in order to “coordinate the rescue efforts as well as to continue vigil in the sensitive area”. There is also a risk of fresh avalanches in the region. Heavy equipment and radars have been deployed, in addition to rescue dogs; however, rescue efforts are hampered by frequent snow blizzards, extreme freezing temperatures and low visibility, apart from the effects of rarefied atmosphere in the high altitude.

Siachen avalanche soldier found alive

Picture Source Siachen avalanche soldier found alive

More soldiers have been killed in the Siachen glacier due to extreme weather conditions than from enemy fire over the years. Over 870 soldiers have sacrificed their lives due to the harsh terrain and unforgiving weather, ever since the Indian Army launched Operation Meghdoot in 1984, to pre-emptively put a dent in Pakistan’s attempt to occupy the strategic heights.

Siachen avalanche soldier found alive

Picture Source   Siachen avalanche soldier found alive

 

We salute these superhuman heroes who selflessly protect our freedom and our country from outside forces, day after day! We remain indebted.

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