Six Days After Siachen Avalanche, Soldier Found Alive, Buried Under 25 Feet Of Snow

09/02/2016 8:25 AM IST | Updated 15/07/2016 8:26 AM IST
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FILE - This Feb. 1, 2005 file photo shows an aerial view of the Siachen Glacier, which traverses the Himalayan region dividing India and Pakistan, about 750 kilometers (469 miles) northwest of Jammu, India. An avalanche hit the Siachen Glacier in the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir early Wednesday,Feb.3, 2016 trapping 10 Indian army soldiers in the snow. (AP Photo/Channi Anand, File)

It's nothing less than a miracle.

Six days after 10 Indian army personnel were buried under an avalanche in the Siachen glacier at an altitude of 19,600 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC), one soldier was on Monday found alive by rescue operators, buried under 25 feet of snow.

"It was a miraculous rescue, all efforts are being made to evacute Lance Naik Hanaman Thappa to the RR hospital in the morning," Lt Gen D S Hooda, Northern Army Commander, told PTI.

"Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified. All other soldiers are regrettably no more with us," he said.

Hooda said he was hoping that the miracle continued for Thappa, who hailed form Karnataka. "He is critical. Pray with us," he said.

The Army’s rescue parties were cutting through up to 30 feet of ice at multiple locations where the soldiers could probably be buried, the Hindu quoted Hooda as saying. "The probable locations are identified using specialised equipment,” he said.

A Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and nine other ranks of Madras Regiment were buried in the avalanche that hit their post where temperatures can dip to as low as minus 45 degrees Celsius.

Army and air force teams were trying to rescue the soldiers and rescue dogs pressed into service. Thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops are stationed on the freezing Himalayan terrain, where more troops have died from the gruelling conditions than from hostile fire.

Last month, four Indian soldiers on foot patrol were killed by an avalanche in the same region. In 2012, an avalanche in the Pakistan-controlled part of the glacier killed 140 people, including 129 soldiers. The two countries have discussed ways to demilitarize the Siachen Glacier without success.

On 8 Feb, the government had announced the names of the 10 soldiers, giving them up for dead, even as rescue teams continued to shift snow to search for them.

(1) Subedar Nagesha TT r/o vill Tejur, Hassan Dist, Karnataka.

(2) Havildar Elumalai M r/o vill Dukkam Parai, Vellore Dist, Tamil Nadu.

(3) Lance Havildar S Kumar r/o vill Kumanan Thozhu, Teni Dist, Tamil Nadu.

(4) Lance Naik Sudheesh B r/o vill Monroethuruth, Kollam Dist, Kerala.

(5) Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad r/o vill Betadur , Dharwad Dist, Karnataka.

(6) Sepoy Mahesha PN r/o vill HD Kote, Mysore Dist, Karnataka.

(7) Sepoy Ganesan G r/o village Chokkathevan Patti, Madurai Dist, Tamil Nadu.

(8) Sepoy Rama Moorthy N r/o vill Gudisatana Palli , Krishna Giri Dist, Tamil Nadu.

(9) Sep Mustaq Ahmed S r/o vill Parnapalle, Kurnool Dist, Andhra Pradesh.

(10) Sepoy Nursing Assistant Suryawanshi SV r/o village Maskarwadi, Satara Dist, Maharashtra

(With inputs from PTI and AP)

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