Siachen soldier loses battle, Pak. ready to mull drawdown

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, whose miraculous survival days after an avalanche hit an Army camp on the Siachen Glacier transfixed the nation, died on Thursday morning, bringing the focus back on the challenges of military deployment on the glacier, with Pakistan indicating that it is willing to consider early de-militarisation. The soldier of 19 Madras Regiment is survived by his wife and daughter.

“Really sorry to inform everyone that LNk Hanamanthappa is no more. He breathed his last breath at 11.45 a.m. today,” an Army officer announced, bringing down the curtain on one of the most dramatic stories of grit and determination in recent memory.

Hanamanthappa was rescued alive on Monday night, having been buried under 35 feet of snow, along with nine other soldiers, by the February 3 avalanche. He was flown to Delhi on Tuesday in an IAF aircraft and was admitted to R&R Hospital.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the nation in bidding farewell to Hanumanthappa. After laying a wreath on his mortal remains, he tweeted: “He leaves us sad & devastated. RIP Lance Naik Hanamanthappa. The soldier in you remains immortal. Proud that martyrs like you served India.”

The bodies of nine other soldiers who were killed in the disaster have been recovered but are yet to be brought down from the glacier because of bad weather, Army officers said.

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Printable version | Apr 12, 2021 6:57:27 PM |

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