Wednesday, February 10, 2016
India Roots For Soldier In Coma After Siachen Miracle Rescue
February 10, 2016 09:53 IST
NEW DELHI: India is rooting for the Siachen soldier who is in coma and on ventilator support after a miracle rescue nearly a week after a deadly avalanche at the world's highest battlefield.
Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who was buried under 25 feet ice for six days, was pulled out by a rescue team on Monday. He was barely conscious, drowsy and disoriented with a faint pulse when he was flown by helicopter to Delhi's army hospital.
The jawan had been trapped since February 3, when a wall of ice a kilometer wide and 800 metres high came crashing down on his army post, killing nine of his colleagues.
Hanamanthappa was severely dehydrated, hypothermic and in shock. He also has pneumonia and liver and kidney problems. "He has been placed on a ventilator to protect his airway and lungs in view of his comatose state," the army said in a statement, adding that 48 hours would be critical because of the complications caused by "re-warming and establishment of blood flow."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited the soldier in hospital yesterday, tweeted: "No words are enough to describe the endurance & indomitable spirit of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. He is an outstanding soldier." The soldier's family is expected to see him today.
Hanamanthappa was found in a fibre-reinforced hut that was buried deep in ice. He was saved because of an "air pocket", say officers.
Lieutenant General SK Patyal told NDTV: "A wall of snow as thick and hard as concrete had fallen on them. The operation was extremely difficult."
The rescue team could not work more than 30 minutes at a time. The rescue effort took some 300 sorties and an intense search at a height of nearly 20,000 feet, where it is difficult to breathe, let alone dig. It became more challenging because the snow had turned into hard ice.
Thousands of troops are in constant danger of frostbite and asphyxiation at the Siachen Glacier, located at the northern tip of Kashmir. More soldiers have died here because of the weather and difficult terrain than in battle.