Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, who was fighting for his life after being rescued alive from under 35 feet of snow six days after his post in Siachen was hit by a glacier, passed away on Thursday at the Army's Research and Referral Hospital in Delhi.
The entire nation was praying for the recovery of the 33-year-old soldier who was hypothermic, hypoxic, hypoglycemic and in severe shock. He was diagnosed with pneumonia, his liver and kidney were dysfunctional and was being given "aggressive therapy and supportive care".
He leaves us sad & devastated. RIP Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. The soldier in you remains immortal. Proud that martyrs like you served India.— Narendra Modi (@narendramodi) February 11, 2016
He was rescued alive on Monday night, rekindling hope that he might pull through even as nine of his colleagues succumbed.
Koppad chose difficult areas over peace postings in his 13 years of service.
“Really sorry to inform everyone that LNk Hanamanthappa is no more. He breathed his last breath at 11:45 a.m. today,” The Hindu quoted an army official as saying.
He is survived by his wife Ashok Bilebal and their two-year-old daughter Netra.
Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad is survived by his wife Ashok Bilebal and their two-year old daughter Netra
VILLAGE PLUNGED IN GRIEF
Karnataka Chief Minister Siddaramaiah led the state in paying homage to the soldier. As the tragic news of Hanamanthappa's demise broke, a large number of relatives, friends, villagers and media contingent gathered near his home at Betadur village in Kundagol taluk of Dharwad district in north Karnataka.
The CM said he has already spoken to officials at Karnataka Bhavan in Delhi and asked them to provide all assistance to Hanamanthappa's family, including making arrangements for a special flight to bring them back to the state.
His colleagues described him as an "ever smiling man"and a "brave solider who displayed a high degree of initiative".
Siddaramaiah said ex-gratia will be announced to families of all three soldiers' from the state - Mahesh from Mysuru, Nagesh from Hassan and Hanamanthappa, who died in the Siachen "tragedy".
"We are deeply pained because we thought he will recover in one or two days and come back. We prayed to all Gods... But I think God couldn't hear us.... The family is shattered...." said Hanamanthappa's friend Manjunath weeping inconsolably.
"Whole Betadur is immersed in grief...; All of us villagers prayed to Gods belonging to every religion for his recovery, don't know why God couldn't hear our prayer," a villager said.
Another villager said "we are in sorrow, but we are equally proud that he has martyred serving and securing our county, he is from our village."
Students of several schools in Dharwad district had been holding prayers for the recovery and return of Hanamanthappa ever since he was found alive. The twin cities of Hubballi-Dharwad saw several organisations, political parties and schools conduct prayers for the recovery of Hanamanthappa.
School children take part in a candle light vigil in Jammu for the soldiers who died in Siachen
A resident of village Betadur in Dharwad district of Karnataka, Koppad had joined the army 13 years ago. The condition of Koppad had deteriorated yesterday. 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 yesterday.
His colleagues described him as an "ever smiling man" and a "brave solider who displayed a high degree of initiative". Koppad chose difficult areas over peace postings in his 13 years of service.
"We are in sorrow, but we are equally proud."
He has served in Mahore (J&K) from 2003 to 2006 where he was actively involved in counterinsurgency operations. He again volunteered to serve with 54 Rashtriya Rifles (Madras) in the state from 2008 to 2010, according to reports. Hanumanthappa also volunteered to serve in the Northeast from 2010 to 2012 where he actively participated in successful operations against the National Democratic Front of Bodoland and United Liberation Front of Assam.
He was serving in the super high altitude areas of Siachen Glacier from August 2015 and was chosen for deployment in one of the highest posts at an altitude of 19,600 feet since December 2015, encountering temperature well below minus 40 degrees C and winds up to 100 km per hour.