“Last week, a Junior Commissioned Officer and nine other ranks of Madras Regiment were buried after a wall of ice — a kilometre wide and 600 metres high — came crashing down on their post.” – ndtv.com
An enormous avalanche of ice and snow came down on 10 Indian military personnel on February 3rd, 2016 in Siachen, Kashmir, India.
144 hours under 25 feet of snow & ice in temperatures of -40 degrees. That's the tale of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa.
— Shiv Aroor (@ShivAroor) February 8, 2016
Today, the Indian army is reporting that an Indian soldier, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa, is in critical condition after surviving 144-hours (6-days) under 25-feet of snow after an that avalanche came down. Temperatures have been as low as -40ºF (-40ºC) the past 6 days although the buried soldier would have been well insulated from those temperatures buried 25 feet below the ice and snow.
The avalanche was reportedly a kilometer wide and buried the men up to 30-feet deep. The avalanche location was on the Saltoro ridge in Siachen, Kashmir, India at an elevation of 19,600-feet near the Line of Control between India and Pakistan. The Line of Control is the most heavily militarized border on Earth.
The Indian army searched for its soldiers through the massive chunks of ice using men, chainsaws, and dogs in -42 (-41ºF)to -25ºC temperatures and driving snow storms.
5 of 8 buried bodies have been found and the remaining 3 are presumed deceased.
“It was a miraculous rescue, all efforts are being made to evacuate Lance Naik Hanamanthappa [the surviving soldier] to the RR Hospital (Army’s Research and Referral hospital) in the morning.”
“Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified. All other soldiers are regrettably no more with us. – Lieutenant General Northern Army Commander DS Hooda told PTI
The Siachen Glacier in Kashmir is the highest, coldest battlefield on Earth. More soldiers have died on this battlefield due to weather and terrain than from the opposition. At least 869 soldiers have been killed in this area since the 1980s.
Surviving an avalanche burial like this seems nearly impossible. Our hearts got out to all the friends and families of the lost soldiers and we hope that the condition of the surviving soldier improves rapidly.