IN COMA

Buried for six days, avalanche survivor extremely critical

INDIA-KASHMIR-SIACHEN-AVALANCHE-RESCUE An Indian army soldier cuts through ice and snow in the search for survivors after a deadly avalanche on the Siachen glacier on February 8 | AFP

Doctors say his condition is unpredictable for next 24 to 48 hours

  • Hanumanthappa has been placed on a ventilator to protect his airway and lungs in view of his comatose state. He remains extremely critical and is expected to have a stormy course in the next 24 to 48 hours due to the complications

An Indian Army soldier, who was pulled out alive six days after he was buried by an avalanche in Siachen, is in coma in an extremely critical state, according to an army medical bulletin. It said he has developed pneumonia and has been placed on ventilator support in Delhi, reports said.

While specific details of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad's present condition is sparse, reports say hospital authorities have dubbed his survival as nothing short of a miracle.

“We hope the miracle continues,” Indian military commander Lt Gen D.S. Hooda has been quoted as saying.

"Hanumanthappa has been placed on a ventilator to protect his airway and lungs in view of his comatose state. He remains extremely critical and 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," an army medical bulletin said.

"He has pneumonia and his investigations have revealed liver and kidney dysfunction. Fortunately there was no cold exposure related frost bite or bony injuries to him," it said.

"He is being treated by a team of intensivists, neurologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist and surgeons. He has been treated with fluids, drugs to bring up his blood pressure..."

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who visited him at the Army Research and Referral hospital in Delhi, tweeted: "No words are enough to describe the endurance & indomitable spirit of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa. He is an outstanding soldier."

The jawan and nine of his colleagues with the 19 Madras Regiment were trapped under snow, when an enormous wall of ice almost a kilometre in length and 800m in width came crashing down on their post on February 3.

The army had said after the first day of searching that the chance of finding survivors was “very remote”. Hanuananthapa was pulled out alive on Monday, along with bodies of nine others, who died.

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