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It's nothing short of a miracle. After being buried 35 feet under snow for five long days in the forbidding glacial heights of Siachen, Lance-Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad was wheeled into the ICU of the Army (Research & Referral) Hospital on Tuesday morning.
His medical report is not too rosy as of now, with the next 24 to 48 hours being critical for the comatose soldier who was rescued on Monday night. But everyone is praying that he turns the corner after showing grit and strong willpower to survive under tonnes of snow and crystallised blue ice amid temperatu res ranging between -30 and -50 °C.
Hanumanthappa, 33, named after Lord Hanuman doggedly clung to life when almost all had lost hope. He survived in an air pocket when the massive ice-wall, measuring almost a km wide and 800 metres tall, came crashing down on the ill-fated Sonam Post, located at an altitude of 19,600 feet in the Northern Siachen Glacier, on February 3 morning.
Hanumanthappa and his nine colleagues from the 19 Madras Regiment -whose bodies have been extricated -had no chance to escape.It's not yet known whether he clawed out an air pocket for himself, as all soldiers who undergo high-altitude mountain warfare training are trained to do, or if sheer providence helped create one for him.
Rescue teams of over 150 soldiers, imbued with the warrior ethos of never leaving a comrade bei hind, were aided by several t sniffer dogs, especially two named Dot and Misha who played a stellar role in the operation. They were also armed with specialised t equipment flown in from other areas. “Army and IAF helicopters and aircraft flew over 200 sorties to rush earth-penel trating radars (which can detect metallic objects and heat signatures at 20-metre depth), radio signal detectors, deep search metal detectors, heavy ce-cutters, digging and bor ng equipment to the area,“ said an officer.
“But even if he was lucky , it requires tremendous mental robustness to survive in such conditions for over five days... I have not witnessed such a thing before,“ said a senior officer who has served in he Siachen Glacier-Saltoro Ridge region.
By the second day after the accident, the Army too was osing confidence of rescuing any of the 10 trapped soldiers alive. But its specialized rescue teams with troops from 19 Madras, Ladakh Scouts and the Siachen Battle School continued to soldier on, braving the harsh terrain, poor visibility and blizzards as well as the severe limits on human endurance to undertake strenuous physical activity at those heights.
It was finally around 7.30 pm on Monday , after days of fruitless search and dashed hopes, that the rescue teams were able to pinpoint the spot where the 10 soldiers were buried with the help of the sniffer dogs and radars. To their surprise, while extricating the bodies, they found that Hanumanthappa still had a “weak pulse“. Hanumanthappa was put inside the live-saving Hapo (high-altitude pulmonary oedema) bag-like cylinder, carried by Army rescue teams in the region since it increases the atmospheric pressure around a patient to simulate descent in altitude, and an oxygen tent. “He opened his eyes around 10.30 pm, which gave us a glimmer of hope,“ said the officer.
By around 9 am on Tuesday, an Army Dhruv advanced light helicopter had winched up the unconscious soldier from the Sonam Post.
originally posted by: Brotherman
What makes this place such a key place to put personnel? Cold weather survival school, military science and research? I'm curious? So tragic too, its good to hear someone survived.