Indian soldier Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad died Thursday, three days after he was miraculously rescued from beneath tonnes of snow following an avalanche that hit his post in Siachen Glacier at an height of 19,600 feet.
“Lance Naik Hanamanthappa is no more. He breathed his last at 11:45 am,” a senior army official said.
The 33-year-old soldier of the 19th Battalion of Madras Regiment is survived by his wife Mahadevi Ashok Bilebal and two-year-old daughter Netra Koppad.
A resident of village Betadur in Dharwad district of Karnataka, Koppad had joined the army 13 years back.
The condition of Koppad, who was admitted to Army Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi on February 9, had deteriorated Wednesday.
Dubbed as the ‘miracle man’, the soldier had managed to stay alive for six days buried under the snow after an avalanche struck their post on February 3.
His condition was reviewed by a team of doctors comprising critical care specialists, the HoD Dept of Medicine, a senior nephrologist, a senior neurologist of the army hospital and a panel of experts from AIIMS Wednesday.
Expressing his condolence, Prime Minister tweeted: “He leaves us sad & devastated. RIP Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. The soldier in you remains immortal. Proud that martyrs like you served India.”
Congress President Sonia Gandhi also expressed deep shock and profound grief over the death of Koppad.
“During his life, the braveheart son of India united the entire nation in praying for him and has every citizen grieving for him today,” she said.
“He fought till his last displaying utmost valour, courage and determination, which is the hallmark of our Armed Forces,” she said in a message extending her deepest condolence to Koppad’s family and loved ones.
Koppad’s Betadur village in Dharwad district of Karnataka had erupted in joy when the news first came about his miraculous rescue after being buried under snow for six days. There were celebrations all over Betadur which is now plunged in grief.
Meanwhile, bad weather has delayed the airlifting of bodies of nine other soldiers recovered from the avalanche-hit site in Siachen.