Siachen hero loses battle with death
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
Army chief General Dalbir Singh at the wreath-laying ceremony in Delhi on Thursday.