Soldier Buried in Avalanche Found Alive 5 Days Later

His survival is being called a 'miracle'
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 9, 2016 12:54 PM CST
Soldier Buried in Avalanche Found Alive 6 Days Later
An aerial view of the Siachen glacier in Kashmir, where an avalanche buried 10 Indian soldiers last week. One soldier was miraculously found alive on Monday.   (AP Photo/Channi Anand, File)

Last Wednesday, an avalanche hit an Indian army base in Kashmir, burying 10 soldiers under 30 feet of ice and snow, the Wall Street Journal reports. Five days later, one soldier was miraculously found alive. The base—nearly 20,000 feet above sea level—was struck after a 320,000-square-foot chunk of ice broke off the Siachen glacier, according to the Times of India. India's defense minister called it an "unpredictable show of strength by nature." More than 150 soldiers, along with two dogs and radar and snow-cutting equipment, responded to the area near India's border with China to search for the missing soldiers. They were slowed by blizzards and high winds. But on Monday, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad was found "dehydrated, hypothermic, hypoxic, hypoglycemic, and in shock"—but alive.

Koppad is currently in critical condition at a hospital in Delhi. “We hope the miracle continues," the Journal quotes a lieutenant general with the Indian army. "He 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," the army said in a statement picked up by the Washington Post. The search team also recovered the bodies of the nine other soldiers. UPI notes the glacier—called the "world's highest battlefield"—is claimed by both Pakistan and India. Hundreds of soldiers have died on the glacier, where temperatures can drop as low as -60 Fahrenheit. Four soldiers were killed in another avalanche just last month. (Another avalanche last week proved deadly for skiers.)

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