On February 8th, we reported on an Indian army soldier who survived buried 35-feet beneath an avalanche for 6 days. The Indian army is reporting that he has passed away in a hospital in New Delhi, India today.
Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad died after being hospitalized in extremely critical condition on February 8th. Koppad 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.” – Indian Army officer announced today
It was a miracle that Koppad survived so long buried so deep. 9 other soldiers buried with him did not survive the avalanche. We were very much hoping that he would survive and tell his tale.
“He leaves us sad & devastated. RIP Lance Naik Hanamanthappa. The soldier in you remains immortal. Proud that martyrs like you served India.” – Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
The avalanche that buried Koppad struck a military post on the Siachen Glacier, the highest point on the most militarized boarder on Earth, The Line of Control in Kashmir located between India and Pakistan. The avalanche occurred at around 19,500-feet and was a kilometer wide.
The avalanche occurred on February 3rd and Koppad was rescued alive on February 8th. He died today, February 11th.
Unbelievably, thousands of Indian and Pakistani military personnel are stationed in this high, freezing Himalayan terrain at all times. More troops have died due to weather, avalanches, and terrain than to fighting in this region. At least 869 soldiers have died in this region since the 1980s.
Koppad and his 9 colleagues death raises many questions about the utility of keep soldiers in such brutal conditions in such a dangerous place.
4 Indian soldiers were killed just last month by a large avalanche. In 2012, an even bigger avalanche on the Pakistani side of the boarder killed 140 people including 129 soldiers.