The survival of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, who continues to battle for his life at the Army Research and Referral Hospital, under 35 feet of snow in -45 degree Celsius temperature at the Siachen glacier in Jammu and Kashmir, is nothing short of a miracle.
According to experts, an average person has over 90 per cent chances of survival were he/she to be rescued within 15 minutes of an avalanche. The chances of survival drastically drops down as time passes and there is only about one per cent of chance for a person to beat the odds and survive if trapped under an avalanche for about 130 minutes.
Koppad, however, managed to survive for five days before he was rescued by a team which had deep penetration radars and was assisted by two rescue dogs.
Experts believe that air pockets that trap air and body heat helped the brave soldier to survive. It could be possible that the place where he was stuck had some air pockets which provided minimum amount of oxygen required for survival.
The fact that he was a healthy soldier and was acclimatized to the local climatic conditions too may have increased his chances of survival. Besides, the soldiers who would be deployed at Siachen where temperatures plunge to -55 degree Celsius regularly are taught survival techniques which include looking for air pockets and how to clear snow to facilitate breathing.
Or may be it was pure luck, aided by a powerful will to survive, that helped him.