Dharwad -- "It is a rebirth for all of us," said Mahadevi, wife of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, with a sense of relief as the family rejoiced at the news of his miraculous survival after remaining buried under snow for six days at Siachen Glacier.
"My husband's grandmother inspired him in his life. Her prayers saved him from certain death in Siachen. It is a rebirth for all of us," Mahadevi, residing at Betadur village in Kundagol taluk of Dharwad district, said.
Hanumanthappa, who hails from Karnataka, was found alive on Monday after being buried under 25 feet of snow for six days following an avalanche that had hit his post at an altitude of 19,600 feet where the temperature was minus 45 degrees celsius.
Mahadevi said the family was going through a painful ordeal after the members came to know of the tragedy, but the news of his survival brought smiles back on faces.
"We were going through a painful ordeal after the avalanche struck ... The news of his survival brought smiles back on our faces. We were all crying and almost lost hope. I didn't know what to do - I have one-and-half-year old girl child," she said.
Eshwar, Hanumanthappa's cousin, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting Koppad who is on a ventilator at the Army's Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi.
"What should I say about the gesture Modi has shown to a simple soldier. It is heartening that a person who is Prime Minister of India visited him," he said.
Eshwar also appreciated the concern shown by Army officials who had visited the family members and gave hope of his survival.
"The army officials had visited us and instilled hope by saying 'don't worry, nothing will happen. The Army had said will find him out and retrieve him alive from the glacier," he said.
The family of six members left for Goa from where they would take a flight to Delhi in the evening to be with Hanumanthappa who is critical, Eshwar said.
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