After a valiant battle Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, the lone survivor of the avalanche that stuck an Army post in Siachen on February 3 burying 10 soldiers of 19 Madras Regiment, died in a Delhi hospital sending the nation into mourning . The soldier was rescued after being buried in snow and ice for six days while the nine other soldiers guarding India’s borders along with him were martyred.
He died at the Army Research & Referral hospital after battling for life for nine days, the first six when he was buried under almost 30 feet of snow and ice before he was rescued miraculously. He is survived by his wife Mahadevi Ashok Bilebal and a one and a half year old daughter Netra Koppad.
The nation mourned his death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the shattered nation in paying rich tributes by tweeting : “He leaves us sad & devastated. RIP Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. The soldier in you remains immortal. Proud that martyrs like you served India,” PM Modi tweeted.
Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi too tweeted his tribute : “His extraordinary spirit and tenacity, till the very end, is an inspiration for all. My thoughts & prayers are with his bereaved family”
He was suffering from multiple organ failure and was on life support system ever since he was rescued from the icy heights of Siachen. He was being treated by a team of neurologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist and surgeons at the R&R hospital. He was administered fluids and drugs to bring up his blood pressure, besides antibiotics but his condition kept on deteriorating.
Hanamanthappa, who was rescued on February 8 from an altitude of 20,500 feet by a team of over 150 soldiers, was earlier flown to Delhi from Siachen in an IAF aircraft, accompanied by a critical care specialist of the force on February 9.