Soldier battles for life after Siachen miracle, next 24-48 hours critical

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Soldier battles for life after Siachen miracle, next 24-48 hours critical


Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, who was rescued at 7.30 pm on Monday after being buried under snow for six days, was in an “extremely critical” condition at the Army’s Research & Referral Hospital on Tuesday. Doctors said that while he did not suffer frost bite, he was suffering from low blood pressure, pneumonia, and liver and kidney dysfunction.

Koppad was buried alive in the early hours of February 3, when their post at Siachen Glacier was hit by an avalanche. Nine soldiers, who were buried along with him, died.

His family landed in Delhi from Dharwad, Karnataka, late Tuesday.

Sources said that Hanumanthappa is on ventilator and is being treated by a team of six specialists. “He is currently comatose and continues to be in shock with low blood pressure. He has pneumonia and his investigations have revealed liver and kidney dysfunction. Fortunately, there was no cold exposure related frost bite or bony injuries to him. He is being treated by a team of intensivists, neurologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist and surgeons.

He has been treated with fluids, drugs to bring up his blood pressure, and antibiotics. He has been placed on a ventilator to protect his airway and lungs in view of his comatose state. He remains extremely critical and is expected to have a stormy course in the next 24 to 48 hours due to the complications caused by re-warming and establishment of blood flow to the cold parts of the body,” a health bulletin issued by the hospital said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the hospital on Tuesday to meet the soldier. “Going to see Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, with prayers from the entire nation,” Modi tweeted.

The Prime Minister, who spent 10 minutes with the soldier, was briefed about his condition by doctors and medical staff. “No words are enough to describe the endurance and indomitable spirit of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. He is an outstanding soldier,” Modi said.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who also visited the hospital with Army chief General Dalbir Singh, tweeted, “My prayers are with Lance Naik Hanumanthappa who miraculously survived the avalanche at Siachen.”

Officials said he was admitted to the hospital’s ICU between 10 am and 11 am. “A team of six doctors has been monitoring him round-the-clock. A core team of three specialists is the overall in-charge. To survive without water for six days is a miracle,” an officer said. “We are now expecting another miracle.”

Hanumanthappa was rescued at 7.30 pm on Monday. On Tuesday, he was flown on a helicopter to the Siachen base camp and then to Thoise air base. He was later transferred to Delhi by a fixed wing aircraft of the IAF.



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