New Delhi: Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad's, the lone survivor of the avalanche that claimed lives of 10 army jawans, is battling for life at hospital in the national capital.
Hanumanthappa, who hails from Karnataka, was found alive on Monday after being buried under 25 feet of snow for six days after 1 km wide and 800 m tall mass of ice hit his post at an altitude of 19,600 feet where the temperature was between -25 to – 45 degrees Celsius.
His survival has caught the attention of whole country with millions praying for the braveheart's speedy recovery.
It would not have been possible had it not been for the sheer determination of army jawan who worked tirelessly for over a week to trace each victim.
Rescue efforts were frequently hampered by high velocity winds and blizzards. By Monday, the rescue teams were able to reach the location of the buried habitat and Koppad was recovered alive. The bodies of nine soldiers were also extricated from their icy grave.
The rescue team could not believe their eyes when they saw he was conscious. He was drowsy and disoriented. "It is unbelievable.
Here is how the whole rescue operation was carried out
1) The rescue teams had the arduous task of breaking through 25-30 ft of blue ice, which is harder than concrete, and had to chip it away inch by inch, army officials said explaining the rescue operation.
2) According to army, two canines, Dot and Misha, did a teremdous job in tracing the soldiers.
3) Army deployed deep penetration radars, capable of detecting metallic objects and heat signatures at a depth of 20 metres, and radio signal detectors
4) Special battery operated snow cutters had to be flown in using helicopters.
5) Radars hauled to the spot by IAF's choppers in knocked down condition
The Survival Story
Experts claim under such weather conditions, claim 92% victims of completely buried due to avalanche can be revived only if recovered within the first 15 minutes, only 27% are alive after 35 minute, brain damage starts before death — 10 minutes for the average victim.
1) Air pocket: It is possible that the pit where he was stuck had some air pocket which provided bare minimum oxygen supply. When a human body is inactive, heart rate is low and nutritional needs are limited too.
2) Yoga: "Yoga plays a very important role in controlling your breathing especially in high altitude areas and is also important in the mental and spiritual toughening of a soldier," says Lt Gen (retd) Ved Chaturvedi, former Director General of Armed Forces Medical Service. "It defies logic. I was posted at the Siachen glacier at the same spot near the sheer ice wall.
"There is no such thing as a miracle. In extreme high altitude conditions those who practice yoga not only have stronger lungs but also their body utilises oxygen better even when lesser amount of oxygen is available in the atmosphere," Indiaoday quoted Baba Ramdev as saying.
3) Acclimatization: Hanumanthappa was healthy & acclimatized to local weather conditions. It gave him extra strength to survive extreme cold.