Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, who survived for six days under tonnes of snow at the Siachen Glacier, lost his battle for life on Thursday at an Army hospital in New Delhi.
Hanumanthappa, 33, was a highly motivated soldier who was always ready to stare death in the face. He was physically fit and had volunteered more than once for postings at inhospitable and difficult areas. He was serving in these areas for 10 years out of his 13-year-long service in the Army.
A resident of Betadur village in Dharwad district of Karnataka, Koppad enlisted in the Madras Regiment’s 19th Battalion on 25 October 2002. Koppad was deployed in Mahore in Jammu & Kashmir from 2003 to 2006, where he was actively involved in counter-insurgency operations.
He again volunteered to serve the 54 Rashtriya Rifles (MADRAS) in Jammu & Kashmir from 2008 to 2010, where he displayed great courage and gallantry in fighting terrorists. Koppad also volunteered to serve in the Northeast from 2010 to 2012, where he actively participated in successful operations against the National Democratic Front of Bodoland and the United Liberation Front of Assam.
The soldier was posted on the Siachen Glacier from August 2015. He was deployed at one of the highest posts where temperatures can come down to below minus 40 degrees Celsius and winds go up to 100 km per hour. He and his team members were deployed at the Army’s Sonam Post, the highest permanently manned post in the world, when an avalanche engulfed their camp on 3 February.
The 10 soldiers buried alive were maintaining the world’s highest helipad in the area, which brought supplies for soldiers on the Siachen Glacier. While nine soldiers, including one Junior Commissioned Officer, died, Koppad was the only one who survived death at the time. He died on Thursday.