Si­achen hero loses bat­tle with death

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Rahul Singh rahul.singh@hin­dus­tan­times.com

NEW DELHI: Lance Naik Hana­man­thappa Kop­pad, who sur­vived six days buried un­der 35 feet of snow in Si­achen, died at an army hos­pi­tal on Thurs­day, end­ing a na­tion’s hopes for the sol­dier’s mirac­u­lous re­cov­ery. Kop­pad, 33, was among the 10 sol­diers pre­sumed dead af­ter an avalanche struck their post in the western Hi­malayas and swept them away at an al­ti­tude of 20,500 feet on Fe­bru­ary 3. The re­main­ing nine per­ished on the world’s high­est bat­tle­ground.

Kop­pad’s end came at 11.45 am at the Army Hos­pi­tal Re­search and Re­fer­ral in New Delhi af­ter he suf­fered multi-or­gan fail­ure.

For Kop­pad’s fam­ily, it was a cruel quirk of fate. His fam­ily and hun­dreds of peo­ple in his

vil­lage in Kar­nataka’s Dhar­wad district had cel­e­brated the news of his dra­matic res­cue three days ago, hop­ing to be united with the man who had shown courage and grit against heavy odds.

A solemn wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mony was held at the Brar Square cre­ma­to­rium here where de­fence min­is­ter Manohar Par­rikar, the three ser­vice chiefs and sev­eral dig­ni­taries, in­clud­ing Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and Delhi CM Arvind Ke­jri­wal, were present to pay their last tributes to the fallen hero.

CON­TIN­UED ON P14

RE­LATED RE­PORTS, P12

ARUN KU­MAR / HT

Army chief Gen­eral Dal­bir Singh at the wreath-lay­ing cer­e­mony in Delhi on Thurs­day.

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