Siachen miracle: 25-feet air pocket kept Lance Naik Hanamanthappa alive

Siachen avalanche: Army sources said Hanamanthappa was detected with the help of a radar, but rescue teams had little hope of “discovering him alive”.

Written by Pranav Kulkarni , Sushant Singh | New Delhi | Updated: February 10, 2016 5:05 pm
siachen, siachen Hanumanthappa, siachen avalanche, siachen survivor, siachen miracle, siachen news, siachen soldier, Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, nation news Siachen avalanche survivor Lance Naik Hanumanthappa was miraculously found alive by a special team.

The miraculous rescue of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad was possible because he was trapped inside an air pocket under 35 feet of snow, and had access to oxygen ever since he was buried alive in an avalanche on February 3, Army officials said.

Army sources said Hanamanthappa was detected with the help of a radar, but rescue teams had little hope of “discovering him alive”.

About 150-200 personnel from nearby posts and units, including the 19 Madras regiment to which Hanamanthappa belongs, were engaged in round-the-clock rescue work since the avalanche. The rescue teams, which also included two sniffer dogs, Dot and Misa, were equipped with radars, snow cutting equipment, medical equipment, Doppler radars and thermal detectors. They also had specialised digging and boring equipment, like rock drills, electrical saws and earth augers to break blue ice, which is harder than rock.

Also read: Next 24-48 hours critical for soldier battling for life at Delhi hospital

WATCH: The Miraculous Rescue Of The Siachen Soldier

Of the 10 men who were buried in the avalanche that hit the Army post at Saltoro ridge on the northern glacier in Siachen, Hanamanthappa is the only one to have been rescued alive. Army officers said the bodies of the jawans were scattered at different locations, and were detected with the help of their radio sets, which kept transmitting signals from beneath the snow. “As a practice, radio sets at the post are never switched off,” an Army official said.

Rescuers also used radars and thermal imagers, which indicate changes in the temperature of an area due to the presence of a human body. “It took the teams several tries to drill and reach Hanamanthappa’s exact location,” an official said.

Share This Article
Share
Related Article

When he was pulled out at 7.30 pm on Monday, his pulse was weak and he was drowsy and disoriented. He was immediately evacuated and treated at the post before being flown to Delhi via Thoise on Tuesday.

READ: Soldier battles for life after Siachen miracle, next 24-48 hours critical

Hanamanthappa, who was was buried under a layer of snow 35 feet thick at a temperature of minus 45 degree Celsius, was “immediately resuscitated by doctors at the site, who had been there for the past five days in the hope of finding a survivor”.

READ: Relief, prayers in Lance Naik Hanumanthappa’s village after news of rescue

“The credit goes to his willpower to survive and stay alive despite the sub-zero temperature,” an official said.

An Army doctor said he may have been inside a tent when the avalanche struck, which helped him keep warm under the snow.

Extreme weather conditions along with snow storms had slowed down rescue operation. “Moreover, at the height of 20,500 feet, where oxygen content is thin, physical efforts are limited. The teams are still deployed on the spot,” said an official.

According to a senior Army official, “We were lucky as we got three clear days, when a large number of sorties could take place.”

The rescue team was led by Commanding Officer of 19 Madras, who established a temporary camp at Sonam Post, where night temperatures hit minus 55 degree Celsius. The rescue team of 150 had to be deployed in rotation as each soldier needs to be rested after every 15 minutes due to low availability of oxygen at a high altitude.

The Army has recovered the bodies of the remaining nine soldiers. “They will be flown to the base camp and Thoise the moment weather opens up,” an official said.

For all the latest India News, download Indian Express App now

  1. V
    Vaid
    Feb 10, 2016 at 12:48 pm
    The author wants to give all credit to the so called Air pocket and not to the brave soldier. The author wants to convey a message that anyone can live happily for many days buried inside avalanche if there is a small air pocket. Shameful jounalism
    Reply
    1. S
      Sirius
      Feb 10, 2016 at 5:18 am
      जाको राखे साइयाँ मार सके न कोय
      Reply
      1. A
        Alphonso D'souza
        Feb 10, 2016 at 12:24 pm
        you give a finger and you have lost your hand. Where we have Pak and Chinese around, we can not give up this. Because of the sacrifices made by these young men, India is safe. |It is time, we all need to do something for the families of all these soldiers. Government will forget after a few days, weeks or months. We as citizens can do something
        Reply
        1. D
          Debasish Sahu,
          Feb 10, 2016 at 6:02 am
          Thanks to the team rescued the brave soldier
          Reply
          1. G
            Group Captain
            Feb 23, 2016 at 2:41 pm
            The miracle at the Death Zone speaks volumes of not only the grit and determination of the Indian Jawans but also volumes about the std of trg given to the Jawans at the HAWS and at the Siachen Battle School. But the best part is the Fauzi camaraderie,of never leaving a comrade behind.The hard work put by the brave Rescue Team and the professionalism of the Army Docs would go down in the annals of the history. The IMF is rightly shortly organising the First Mountain Med and First Aid Course(similar to NOL's Wilderness Med Course).Perhaps the IMF may make a case study of this ops for the students and should now plan a Course in Disaster management,to be of some help in such situations than Mountaineering,merely as a hobby.
            Reply
            1. K
              kamath Ramesh
              Feb 10, 2016 at 9:50 am
              It is nothing short of miracle to find in such a ice even after 6 days. God give him enough strength to recover fast. Our hearts goes with the families who could not not be as lucky as this hero
              Reply
              1. K
                kranthi puthra
                Feb 10, 2016 at 8:08 am
                Nice to here. Government should him in medical expenses. Great job by Indian Army and Air force.
                Reply
                1. K
                  Kulmohan Singh
                  Feb 10, 2016 at 6:20 am
                  Dear sir, I value your comment but the same fear factor against stan has already cost us 845 human lives on Siachein Glacier. ICE GLACIER is no place to fight the enemy. It is going against the mother nature or DHARTI MA to position soildiers on a place as tough as an ice glacier.
                  Reply
                  1. K
                    Kulmohan Singh
                    Feb 10, 2016 at 6:02 am
                    If people are really as indebted to Army Jawans as they try to sound here on these online forums, then they should put their weight behind demilitarisation of Siachein Glacier as it is simply inhuman to put Jawans in -50 degree Celsius just because they happen to be, Jawans.
                    Reply
                    1. M
                      madan gupta
                      Feb 10, 2016 at 3:05 am
                      भारत माँ का बहादुर जवान, जिंदा बाद.
                      Reply
                      1. M
                        Makarand Deshbhakt
                        Feb 10, 2016 at 8:45 am
                        Our Indian Army is best in the world!
                        Reply
                        1. S
                          Shamsul Islam
                          Feb 10, 2016 at 8:07 am
                          Lance Naik thappa has been rescued to the joy of his family, friends and all of us. Nine other soldiers could not be saved. Our condolences with their families and friends.
                          Reply
                          1. K
                            Kevin Turner
                            Feb 10, 2016 at 7:44 pm
                            Indian army soldiers are real heroes. Lance Naik thappa, you are certainly a big HERO. Your strong will and determination helped you in your survival. Our best wishes and prayers are with you for your speedy recovery and healthy long life.
                            Reply
                            1. S
                              samudra
                              Feb 10, 2016 at 7:33 am
                              de militarisation in siachen is possible with 'state of art' military technology installed to monitor intrusions. this ofcourse comes with a almost 'daily and hourly' statellite scan of the area which needs dedicated satellite time probably
                              Reply
                              1. S
                                SOUMITA MANDAL
                                Feb 11, 2016 at 4:08 am
                                I CAN'T IMAGINE HOW DID HE SURVIVE UNDER 35 FEET OF SNOW FOR 5 DAYS?A BRAVE HEART WHO WINS SIACHEN.HE IS AREAL HERO OF OUR COUNTRY.WISH YOU A SPEEDY RECOVERY.
                                Reply
                                1. R
                                  Ramakrishna Tumuluri
                                  Feb 10, 2016 at 3:51 am
                                  GREAT AND COMMENDABLE RESCUE OPERATION ---UNDER VERY VERY HOSTILE CLIMATIC CONDITONS --CONGRATS ARMY
                                  Reply
                                  1. V
                                    vaibhav
                                    Feb 10, 2016 at 6:53 am
                                    845 I was nor aware of that but could we do dimilirise this SIACHEN considering KARGIL and you must be aware that Indian Army captured SIACHEN in 1984 which we rightfully claim ours but the stanis do not think so. I am not against Demilitiriasing but I do not trust PAK. look at HAFIZ SAEED freely roaming in PAK if it was anyother country other than PAK then I second you
                                    Reply
                                    1. V
                                      vaibhav
                                      Feb 10, 2016 at 6:13 am
                                      I understand and value the loss of lives sir. But what if stanis take advantage and intrude in to our territory?Wont there be a even more loss of lives?
                                      Reply
                                      1. V
                                        vaibhav
                                        Feb 10, 2016 at 6:14 am
                                        The great Indian army really indebted to it and proud of it.
                                        Reply
                                        1. V
                                          Vibhu Bansal
                                          Feb 10, 2016 at 8:32 am
                                          The most of modern and state of art equipment will not be of any use once heights such as Siachen have been taken over by the enemy. India lost many son's in Kargil all because of this thinking.
                                          Reply
                                          1. V
                                            Vibhu Bansal
                                            Feb 10, 2016 at 8:33 am
                                            The most of modern and state of art equipment will not be of any use once heights such as Siachen have been taken over by the enemy. India lost many son's in Kargil all because of this thinking.
                                            Reply
                                            1. Load More Comments