India mourns its hero: Siachen miracle soldier Lance Naik Koppad passes away

Four days after miraculously surviving an avalanche at the Siachen glacier, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad died at an army hospital in Delhi.

Earlier, medical reports had said that he had slipped into deeper coma, and that he was was suffering multiple organ dysfunction. According to a report in Hindustan Times, when Koppad was rescued, he was conscious, but was drowsy and disoriented.

"Lance Naik Hanamanthappa is no more. He breathed his last at 11:45 AM, " a senior army official said.

After Koppad's death, television visuals showed grieving relatives mourning his death. Political reactions poured in on Twitter, with both the BJP and the  Congress expressing condolences on his demise.

Reacting to the death, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, "He leaves us sad and devastated...The soldier in you remains immortal."

Rahul Gandhi said, "His extraordinary spirit and tenacity, till the very end, is an inspiration for all. My thoughts and prayers are with his bereaved family.

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.

Condoling Koppad's death, West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee expressed her sadness. "Saddened by news of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. Brave soldier gave supreme sacrifice for the nation. Salute to him & his colleagues who died," Banerjee tweeted.

Union Minister and former army chief VK Singh said that "it was a miracle for anybody to survive for six days buried under an avalanche, under 35 feet of snow."

Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit also reacted to the soldier's demise and said that it was time that India and Pakistan addressed this issue of lives being lost in Siachen.

"We hope the Siachen issue is treated in an urgent manner between our two countries so more lives aren't lost," ANI quoted Basit as saying.

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.

ANI reported that his wife has now reached the Army RR Hospital in Delhi.

A resident of village Betadur in Dharwad district of Karnataka, Koppad had joined the army 13 years back.

Doctors on Thursday said that condition of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, the Siachen braveheart who defied death for six days buried under snow, has deteriorated further and has slipped into deeper coma.

The Army Research and Referral Hospital said that the condition has become worse than earlier, even as a team of experts from AIIMS joined the military doctors in their bid to save the soldier's life.

Hanamanthappa was being treated by a team of intensivists, neurologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist and surgeons. He was also administered fluids and drugs to bring up his blood pressure, besides antibiotics.

He continued to remain extremely critical with evidence of oxygen deprivation to the brain on CT scan, a medical bulletin issued at 4 pm Wednesday evening said. There was evidence of pneumonia in both lungs. "His multi-organ dysfunction state continues unabated. His condition has deteriorated despite aggressive therapy and supportive care," it added. Koppad was examined by a team of Army Hospital doctors comprising critical care specialists, HoD Dept of Medicine, senior nephrologist, senior neurologist and a panel of experts from AIIMS, New Delhi.

"The entire team was in agreement with the management (of medical problems) that the patient had undergone till now, and concurred with the future plan of management for him," the Bulletin said. Hanamanthappa was evacuated by a helicopter earlier this week from the site of the avalanche that hit his post on Siachen Glacier before being shifted to Delhi in an IAF aircraft accompanied by a critical care specialist of the force and a medical specialist from the base camp.

Hero in service to the nation

Koppad had served in difficult and challenging areas for 10 out of 13 years of his total service.

His postings included Jammu and Kashmir from 2003 to 2006, where he was actively involved in counter-insurgency operations.

He again volunteered to serve with the 54 Rashtriya Rifles (Madras) in Jammu and Kashmir from 2008 to 2010, and later in the northeast from 2010 to 2012 where he took part in operations against militants.

He was serving in the high-altitude areas of Siachen glacier from August 2015.

With inputs from agencies

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Updated Date: Feb 11, 2016 19:32:34 IST

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