Siechen hero fights for life, na­tion prays

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Rahul Singh and Rhythma Kaul let­ters@hin­dus­tan­

NEW DELHI: The con­di­tion of a sol­dier who sur­vived for six days un­der 35 feet of snow in the Si­achen glacier de­te­ri­o­rated on Wed­nes­day but his mirac­u­lous res­cue could push the fron­tiers of high-al­ti­tude medicine, In­dia’s top mil­i­tary doc­tor told HT.

Doc­tors at Delhi’s Army Hos­pi­tal Re­search & Re­fer­ral ( R& R) said the next 24 hours were crit­i­cal for Lance Naik Hana­man­thappa Kop­pad, who con­tin­ued to be co­matose and in shock.

“His [ Kop­pad’s] brain has ex­ces­sive swelling and his kid­neys are se­verely af­fected; how­ever age is by his side and if he sur­vives this crit­i­cal pe­riod, he should be

able to lead a nor­mal life,” said All In­dia In­sti­tute of Med­i­cal Sci­ences di­rec­tor Dr MC Misra, af­ter a panel of ex­perts from the in­sti­tute vis­ited the hos­pi­tal.

The mil­i­tary is set to kick off re­search to ex­am­ine how

Kop­pad stayed alive un­der 35 feet of snow — nearly as high as a three- storey build­ing — but his com­rades per­ished, said Lieu­tenant Gen­eral BK Cho­pra, who heads the armed forces med­i­cal ser­vices.

Ex­perts be­lieve a small air pocket, phys­i­cal tough­ness and a strong will to live may have helped him cling to life at a height of 20,500 feet on the planet’s most un­for­giv­ing bat­tle­field.


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