Indian Soldier Spends Five Days Trapped Under 25-Foot Avalanche

| by Emily Smith
Siachen glacier at sunsetSiachen glacier at sunset

An Indian soldier was saved after miraculously surviving a Himalayan avalanche that struck a remote Indian outpost on Feb. 3.

Rescuers had all but given up searching the outpost, which was blanketed under a 25-foot wall of hardened snow, according to The Washington Post. However, a search team finally discovered Lance Naik Hanamanthappa on Feb. 8 and rescued him from his icy coffin.

Hanamanthappa had somehow survived under the snow and at an altitude of more than 19,000 feet. The soldier, who was discovered in an air pocket in critical condition, was airlifted to a hospital in Delhi.

“We hope the miracle continues,” the army wrote in a statement. “Pray with us.”

The other nine soldiers that had been buried in the avalanche, which struck the Indian-controlled portion of Kashmir, were confirmed dead. The avalanche reportedly occurred on the deadly Siachen glacier, which is near the disputed border between India and Pakistan.

The Indian army said Hanamanthappa has pneumonia, as well as liver and kidney problems. He is currently on a ventilator to protect his airway and lungs.

“He is expected to have a stormy course in the next 24 to 48 hours due to the complications caused by re-warming and establishment of blood flow to the cold parts of the body,” the army’s statement continued.

Hanamanthappa’s relatives were set to visit him on Feb. 9. However, he was first visited by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, The Post notes. Modi said that there are not enough words to describe the “endurance and indomitable spirit” of the soldier.

Thousands have died on the glacier since 1984, when India and Pakistan began fighting over the territory. However, both India and Pakistan have failed to demilitarize the area, despite numerous rounds of peace talks, BBC reports.

Sources: The Washington Post, BBC / Photo credit: Danokhan/Wikimedia Commons, TripWire/Wikimedia Commons

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