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Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, rescued from Siachen, battles for life; liver and kidney dysfunctional

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New Delhi: Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, who beat death to survive under 25 feet of snow for six days in the icy heights of Siachen Glacier – the world’s highest battlefield – continues to battle for his life at a hospital here.
The soldier is in coma, a medical bulletin issued by the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital said on Tuesday.

According to doctors, the soldier from Karnataka is in “extremely critical” condition.

That Hanumanthappa is alive is itself a miracle as he had been presumed dead along with nine other colleagues of the Madras Regiment following an avalanche at Siachen Glacier.

The bodies of the other soldiers who too were swept away by the avalanche on February 3 at a height of 20,500 feet on the southern side of the glacier in Jammu and Kashmir have also been found.

The dead included a Junior Commissioned Officer.

A medical bulletin said Hanumanthappa, who was flown to Delhi early on Tuesday, was in shock with low blood pressure and was on ventilator in the ICU. The next one or two days are critical for him.

“He has been placed on ventilator to protect his airway and lungs in view of his comatose state,” said the bulletin issued at 4 pm.

“He remains extremely critical and is expected to have a stormy course in the next 24-48 hours due to the complications caused by re-warming and establishment of blood flow to the cold parts of the body.

“He has pneumonia and his investigations have revealed liver and kidney dysfunction. Fortunately, there was no cold exposure related frost bite or bone injuries to him,” it said.

The soldier, being treated by experts, has been given fluids and drugs to bring up his blood pressure.

President Pranab Mukherjee and Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday lauded the “indomitable spirit” of Hanumanthappa. Modi even visited the hospital along with Army Chief General Dalbir Singh.

Mukherjee said in a message to the Army Chief: “I am happy to know that Koppad has survived the avalanche… I applaud his indomitable spirit and ability to endure adverse conditions.”

Modi tweeted: “No words are enough to describe the endurance and indomitable spirit of Hanumanthappa. He is an outstanding soldier.”

The Army Chief visited the Army’s R&R Hospital again on Wednesday morning to enquire about Hanamanthappa’s condition.

In Karnataka, his distraught family and relatives continue to pray for his well being.

The soldier was luckily inside an “arctic tent” which possibly aided his survival despite being under the ice sheet, Army sources said.

The tent is designed to withstand extreme temperatures and has a fibre-reinforced structure.

While Koppad’s survival is a miracle, doctors say he was possibly trapped in an air pocket which saved him.

Soldiers posted in harsh icy conditions are trained to look for air pockets in case of an avalanche and know how to clear the snow near the nose and the mouth so that they can keep breathing.

Meanwhile, Hanumanthappa continues to battle on in Delhi this time for his life.

India praise and prays

Meanwhile, Indian are praying for the recovery of the brave soldier who battled death.

PM Modi after visiting the soldier in the hospital tweeted: “No words are enough to describe the endurance & indomitable spirit of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. He is an outstanding soldier.”

Amitabh Bachchan tweeted, “We pray for him that protects us in extreme circumstances and serves his country .,PRAYERS FOR L/N HUNUMANTHAPPA and his recovery.”

Sachin Tendulkar tweeted, “Praying for Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. Fighter, braveheart. Salute to the courageous soldiers who lost their lives in”

Manohar Parrikar tweeted, “My prayers are with Lance Naik Hanumanthappa who miraculously survived the avalanche at Siachen.”

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