• 2682, Sector 40/C, Chandigarh
  • +91 9814610007
  • 2682, Sector 40/C, Chandigarh
  • +91 9814610007

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Salute to Hanamanthappa’s six days of struggle

I arrived at Leh, Siachen in M117 Chopper to see the ground zero realities and situations around the state Jammu and Kashmir, India.

The avalanche-prone areas at Siachen are well identified and no post is located in these areas. Besides, the DRDO’s Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment has its equipment and personnel deployed with units on Siachen to provide avalanche warnings. No movement is permitted during “medium” and “high” warnings but soldiers can move with precaution during a “low” warning.

The Tuesday warning had been for a “low-danger” snow avalanche. What struck on Wednesday was an ‘ice avalanche’, with an 800 x 600 metre ice wall falling down and swamping a 1,000 x 800 metre area. Sonam Post lay buried, up to 35 feet down, under ice boulders bigger than the size of a room. For the next five and a half hours, the world remained unaware. Then, around 10.30 am, the radio set at Kaziranga Post suddenly crackled to life.

The Tribute to The Past by Armaan Foundation Chandigarh salutes the brave
Indian Army soldier Hanamanthappa

The voice at the other end was of a soldier now known to the entire country. It was Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, saying they were trapped. The officer at Kaziranga Post immediately set out with his Avalanche Recovery Team (ART) for Sonam. The Siachen Base Camp and each unit of the Siachen Brigade has an ART of 10 soldiers under an officer. They reached early afternoon, to a nightmare. Sonam Post was covered under blue ice, which is formed when snow falls on a glacier, is compressed.

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