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Despite quality training, India has lost 41 soldiers to Siachen Glacier since 2013

New Delhi: Forty-one soldiers have lost their lives in Siachen Glacier since 2013, the government said on Friday.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in a written reply in Lok Sabha said 10 soldiers were killed in 2013, eight and nine in 2014 and 2015, respectively.

“Till 31 March, 14 soldiers have died this year,” Parrikar said.

Representational image. AFPRepresentational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Troops being posted in high altitude areas are trained in ‘Basic and Advance’ skills in mountains and snow-bound areas, he said, adding medical equipment exist in all posts to cater for emergencies.

Best quality of winter clothing and equipment is procured to prevent weather-related casualties.

Modern means of conveyance like snow scooters are utilised to ensure timely reaction to any eventuality and reduce fatigue.

A number of specialised equipment have also been deployed in avalanche- prone areas, he said.

Jammu and Kashmir: Soldier missing after avalanche hits patrol party in Siachen

One soldier has gone missing after an avalanche hit an Army patrol party in Siachen’s Turtuk sector post on Friday.”One soldier is missing and one was rescued. The condition of rescued soldier is said to be critical,” reported ANI.A week ago, Indian Army rescue teams recovered the mortal remains of Sepoy Vijay Kumar from under twelve feet of snow, after he was swept away in the avalanche on an Army post in Kargil while on surveillance duty.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This third incident comes weeks after a deadly avalanche on Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir, close to the Line of Control or LoC, killed 10 Army personnel including an officer.Following arduous rescue operations which lasted for two weeks, the bodies of nine soldiers were recovered. Lance Naik Hanamanthapa, who was found buried alive after being snowed under 25 feet of ice, passed away at the Army RR hospital in New Delhi, four days after his miraculous rescue.Earlier in the day, a ‘medium danger’ avalanche warning was issued for higher areas of Jammu and Kashmir, advising people not to venture into these areas.The advisory, issued by Chandigarh-based Snow and Avalanche Study Establishment (SASE) which comes under the Ministry of Defence, will remain effective over the next 24 hours beginning 5 PM today.’Medium danger’ avalanche warning exists for avalanche prone areas situated at an altitude of above 3,000 metres like Kupwara, Baramula, Bandipur, Kargil and Gandarbal districts of Jammu and Kashmir, the advisory said.Pharkian and Kanzalwan areas of Jammu and Kashmir have received fresh snowfall of 10 cm and 4 cm, respectively since yesterday.(With PTI inputs)

Another tragedy at Siachen as army porter falls to death

A month after 10 Indian Army soldiers were killed in the snow avalanche, tragedy hit the world’s highest battlefield again when a civilian porter working with army died after falling into a 130 deep crevasse at Siachen glacier.The incident occurred on February 27 when the porter accidentally fell in the crevasse in the northern Siachen glacier. Indian army immediately launched the search and rescue mission to locate the missing porter.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>This crevasse situated at an altitude of 19,000ft was 6ft long and 2-4ft wide. The depth reached by the rescue team was 130ft. However, the rescue operations were extremely slow as the width of crevasse had to be widened by cutting the blue ice.Unfortunately, the deceased Porter Thukjay Gyasket, 40, of Leh district in Ladakh could not be saved from deep cold icy crevasse and his body was recovered after a herculean effort by the rescue team around noon on Tuesday. The mortal remains have been sent in an army ALH chopper to Field Hospital at Hunder for wreath laying and other ceremonies. Gyasket is survived by his mother, wife and two daughters.Recently three crevasses opened up in the Northern Glacier on 25 February. These crevasses were bridged on February 26 and 27.Chief of army staff General Dalbir Singh led the nation to pay tributes to the brave porter who died on the Siachen glacier. “It takes extraordinary courage, physical fitness and mental robustness for a civilian porter to work with the army in torturous and unforgiving terrain of Siachen. For me he is one of us. We will take all possible measures and not rest till we retrieve him,” said General Singh.Five days later Indian Army rescuers pulled off a miracle when they extricated Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad alive from the huge blocks of snow and ice at the altitude of 19600 feet on the world’s highest battlefield of Siachen on Monday night. Lance Naik Koppad of Madras regiment however died of multiple organ failure in the Army Research and Referral Hospital, New Delhi some days later.Indian Army has suffered huge causality with 14 soldiers losing their lives in the last two months at Siachen glacier. This is the highest casualty figures in the last four years on the world highest battlefield. Official figures reveal, 10 soldiers were killed at Saichen glacier in 2013. In 2014 and 2015, eight and nine soldiers respectively lost their lives at the glacier.Indian Army has lost hundreds of soldiers to weather vagaries, including avalanches and frost bites, in the last 30 years.Pakistani army suffered humiliating defeat in 1987 when Indian Army led by Honorary Captain Bana Singh captured their “Quaid” post located at 21,153 feet which was later named “Bana” post.However, for the last 12 years, the 150 kilometer Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) in Siachen, is witnessing calm following the border cease-fire in 2003. Before that the AGPL was a regular battlefield with both armies exchanging artillery and small arms fire to pin each other down.

9 Siachen martyrs’s bodies flown to their homes

The mortal remains of nine Siachen bravehearts which were stuck due to bad weather in Siachen Glacier were on Monday brought to the Palam Airport here where hundreds of people gathered to pay their tributes. While Lance Naik Hanumanthappa survived under the avalanche and later succumbed in Delhi, nine of his fellow soldiers’ bodies were pulled out too after they got buried in an avalanche at the world’s highest battlefield on February 3.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Indian Air Force planes later flew the bodies to their families in Pune, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Madurai, Chennai and Thiruvananthapuram.Life of these martyrs of 19 Madras Regiment.Subedar Nagesha: The Junior Commissioned Officer served 12 years in tough field areas out of his 22 years of total service. He participated in Operation Parakram and also served in Operation Rakshak at Mendhar in Jammu & Kashmir for two years where he was actively involved in counter insurgency operations. He volunteered to serve with Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu & Kashmir he also volunteered to serve as a Commando in NSG for three years.Havildar Elumalai M: He joined 19th Battalion of the Madras Regiment in 1996 and conducted several successful small team operations against terrorists in both Jammu & Kashmir and North East during his nine years of field service. The non commissioned officer had passed his promotion tests and was about to pickup ranks of a Junior Commissioned Officer.Lance Havildar S Kumar: He served in difficult and challenging field tenures for nine years out of his 17 years service to the nation. The soldier also has rare distinction of serving in the Siachen Glacier twice. he took active part in Operation Parakram on the Western Border from 2001-2002.Lance Naik Sudheesh B: He served in Jammu & Kashmir fighting the insurgency and also in Operation Rhino in the North East where he was part of the Quick Reaction Team.Sepoy S Mustaq Ahmed: He joined the Army in 2004. Hailing from the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh, in his career spanning over a decade he had formed part of the Battalion counter militancy in the North East as also in the state of Jammu & Kashmir.Sepoy Mahesha PN: Joined Army in 2005. During his career, he served in North East from 2009 to 2012 where he was actively involved in counter insurgency operations. He again volunteered to serve with Rashtriya Rifles in Jammu & Kashmir from Feb 2012 to June 2014.Sepoy Rama Moorthy N: Joined Army in 2009 and in the short span of seven years of his service, he was involved in operation in North East and again volunteered for Rashtriya Rifles to fight counter insurgency in Jammu & Kashmir.Sepoy Ganesan G: During his career spanning over six years, he served in Counter Insurgency Operations both in Jammu and Kashmir and the North East. In August 2015, when his Battalion was inducted in Siachen,, he was the youngest in the group.Sepoy (Nursing Assistant) A SURYAVNSHI SV: The soldier completed his basic training from Army Medical Corps Center & College in 2011. He managed the responsibility of Medical Inspection Rooms during Operation Meghdoot on 06 Oct 2015.

Siachen avalanche: Soldier’s kin to get Rs 5 lakh compensation

Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu has announced a compensation of Rs five lakh to the kin of Sepoy Mustaq Ahmed, who was among the 10 Army personnel who were killed in a massive avalanche while posted in Siachen.Mustaq hails from Parnepallu village in Kurnool district and is survived by wife and son. The Chief Minister has announced Rs five lakh compensation to his family of Sepoy Mustaq Ahmed, an official release said on Saturday. <!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In his condolence message, Naidu described Mustaq as a “great patriot and soldier who sacrificed his life for the nation”. Mustaq and nine others, died after getting buried under a mass of snow after being hit by an avalanche on February 3 at a high-altitude post on Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir.

Need to maintain presence in Siachen: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar

Noting that casualties have tapered off the world’s highest battlefield over the years, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Friday ruled out dislodging troops from Siachen Glacier citing its strategic significance.”I think from the national security angle, holding our presence in Siachen is very important,” Parrikar said, in the wake of the death of 10 armymen in a massive avalanche hit a week ago.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Defence Minister said there has been a decline in the number of annual casualties at the glacier, where India and Pakistan have been holding a ceasefire for the past many years.”The number of deaths has tapered off to comparatively acceptable levels but we need to maintain our presence in the Siachen Glaciers,” Parrikar said.Acknowledging that “there are costs” of maintaining presence at the glacier, he said the number of casualties has come down to around 10-14 a year in the last decade. Of these deaths, 8-9 deaths on average are because of “accidents such as falling into a snowy ditches”, while only one or two deaths happen because of high altitude-sickness or cold, he said.”We need to maintain Siachen presence because Siachen is the height, if we vacate that, anyone who comes cannot be removed or dislodged from there,” Parrikar said, pointing out that China and Pakistan lay on either side of the glacier.On the figure of 874 soldiers’ deaths so far in Siachen, he said the number included those who died in fighting between Indian and Pakistani forces in 1984.Parrikar also said Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who died last morning due to multiple organ failure, was able to survive for six days under the snow because he was in a sleeping bag when the avalanche occurred.Gadgets such as drones cannot be used effectively in such terrains where the temperature goes down to 40 degrees below freezing point amidst ferocious wind speed, he said.

India’s resolute troops: Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad symbolises every soldier in Siachen

By Lt Gen Prakash Katoch

Going by queries of media friends about how soldiers live on the Siachen glacier 32 years after India’s occupation of the Saltoro Range one is not surprised that some are so outwitted by the news of an avalanche striking Sonam post held by 19 Madras on 3 February that they suggest Indian Army (IA) should vacate the area, albeit without any inkling about the ground and its strategic significance. Incidentally, George Fernades was the only defence minister who took journalists with him on his numerous visits to the Siachen area, to bring awareness about the region, including its strategic significance and why India pre-empted Pakistani move to occupy the Saltoro Range. There are some who ask why the post was located at such place where such an avalanche could occur, again without knowing the ground realities. The post of Sonam where the avalanche occurred is an essential piece of ground which guards the approach to Bana Post (the highest on the Saltoro Range) from being cut off, Bana being the erstwhile Qaid-e-Azam post of Pakistan at a height of 6,500 metres (21,326 feet) that was captured by Indian troops in 1987 under the leadership of Honorary Captain Bana Singh who was later awarded the Param Vir Chakra.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Image courtesy Indian ArmyLance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Image courtesy Indian Army

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Image courtesy Indian Army

But this is about the indomitable spirit of the Indian soldier, epitomized today by Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad rescued after six days of remaining buried under 35 feet of snow in temperatures of minus 55-60 degrees centigrade, who was battling for his life in deep comma at the Army’s Research & Referral Hospital in New Delhi and has unfortunately passed away on 11 February. As the whole nation stood by him and prayers were being held all over for his recovery, providence had other plans despite the best of medical treatment provided. His rescue indeed was miraculous and the herculean rescue operation mounted by the Army itself was one of the most daunting and intricate. Sonam post has a number of Fibre Glass Huts (FGH) as also a helipad. It is at an altitude of 20,500 feet where average temperatures are about minus 25 degree centigrade by day and about minus 45 degree centigrade by night. One has had the privilege to spend a night at Sonam as a Brigade Commander during 1998-1999. The recent avalanche reportedly occurred because of part of the Bana ice wall collapsing on to the post.

The ice debris from the avalanche covered an area of 800 metre by 1,000 metre with a depth of 25 to 30 feet. Massive ice boulders, some the size of a small room, had covered the post. Most of this was blue ice, almost as hard as concrete. The Army pulled out all its stops for the rescue. A 200-man strong rescue operation was mounted round the clock with rock drills, electrical saws, radar equipment, medical teams and specialized rescue dogs Dot and Misha airlifted and pressed into round the clock operation, egged on by the weak radio signal received from the buried men on the fourth day post the avalanche. It was an operation in line with the highest traditions of the Army and its spirit of never leaving a comrade behind. Helicopter pilots of both Indian Army and Indian Air Force flew repeated sorties in highly adverse weather conditions. The rescue team worked relentlessly through snow blizzards, spine chilling cold and great personal risk of being buried under an avalanche themselves, cutting, drilling, sawing and dug through tons of ice and snow. Through night and day, six days in a row, they kept at it, throwing everything they had into it.

Chances of finding a survivor in an avalanche goes down with passage of hours but that didn’t daunt or shake the resolve of these 200-odd men. For them, percentages and probabilities did not matter. What mattered was that 10 of their own were trapped under those sheets of ice, and they had to be pulled out even if their chances of survival were being talked of in the negative. Everyone up the chain of command was involved. Then the miracle happened of pulling out Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad albeit with a weak pulse, otherwise inert but fortunately without any cold exposure-related frost bite or bone injury. The balance nine of his colleagues had unfortunately passed into the annals of history, with the nation saluting them.

What prevails is the fact that officers and men of Indian Army resolutely throw themselves willingly into harm’s way, when the occasion demands it. Because they know that no matter what, their mates shall come after them if they were to fall. The logistics of supporting the 200-man rescue team itself was mammoth, where one Cheetah can carry only two kerosene jerrycans at those heights. The fuel and kerosene required to light up the area, fuel the specialized equipment and power communication equipment required scores of flying hours, for pushing in of fuel, equipment, rations, standby troops, medical support, weather warning equipment etc. Even by the most modest estimate, this translates into thousands of man-hours over a six day period. Imagine all this effort to rescue 10 men, who by every acknowledged line of reasoning stood negligible chance of survival. But that is what the Indian Army is about.

Why India occupied the dominating Saltoro Range in 1984 through a lighting helicopter-borne operation was because Pakistan was about to capture this strategic piece of ground. Musharraf rues India pre-empting the Pakistani move in his autobiography. Significantly, troops that occupied the Saltoro Range had no special clothing and no special rations as is provided presently. There were no FGH or snow scooters in those days. Most of the troops that went in for the initial occupation stayed on for more than one year. Over the years, the system has been streamlined. There is proper acclimatization at various heights along the Siachen glacier leading on to the posts on the Saltoro Range. A soldier presently does 40 days of acclimatization enroute to Tiger Saddle which is the northern-most post on the Saltoro Range. More significantly, all troops are put through a rigid pre-induction schedule under supervision of a team from the High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) before proceeding to their posts. This includes all types of ice training and dealing with emergencies. Given the difficulty of the terrain, the tenure of soldiers in the northern, central and southern glacier is three months, six months and one year respectively.

Yes, the life on the Saltoro is tough but the soldiers are prepared for it both mentally and physically. Morale is always very high. Vagaries of weather are there but there are units that have successfully completed tenures on the glacier without a single weather casualty, especially units where men have been practicing yoga. There are every day acts of heroism in dealing with blizzards, crevasses and rescuing colleagues that have fallen into crevasses, sometime while riding a snow scooter. At the same time, avalanches have been occurring periodically elsewhere in J&K particularly in Kargil Sector and along the LoC in the Kashmir Valley. Some time back entire crew of a gun position was buried in avalanche in Dras area of Kargil. Doesn’t mean we should vacate our borders.

The strategic value of the Saltoro Ridge can be gauged from repeated Pakistan attempts to capture our posts, though repulsed every time. We are in occupation of Saltoro Range because it is our territory. We can extract heavy price from Pakistani troops deployed on lower ground to the west, when required. The northern tip rests on the Shaksgam Valley (Indian Territory) that was illegally gifted by Pakistan to China in 1963. If we vacate the Siachen area, it would imply: gifting Sub Sector North (east of Siachen Glacier) to China, as positions there will become untenable; our next defence line south of the Shyok River will likely require deployment of minimum two Divisions (instead of the one Brigade on the Saltoro Ridge) at mammoth expenditure; Leh will come within enemy artillery range; through Aksai Chin China will link up with Pakistan in Gilgit-Baltistan area, enlarging the collusive China-Pakistan threat further. It will open avenues for Pakistani infiltration and terrorism into Ladakh, with reverberations through the Zanskar Range right down to Kulu-Manali in Himachal Pradesh, requiring deployment of perhaps another two Corps to control the area. Siachen Glacier also happens to be one of the largest fresh water reserves of India, vital for our precarious water situation.

Army units and pilots of both Indian Army and IAF take pride in serving on the glacier. No one has ever sought exemption from serving there. On the contrary, there have been many instances where individuals have tried to hide medical infirmities so as not lose out serving on the glacier. Troops on the glacier are a ‘band of brothers’ whose bonding cannot be understood by those who have not set foot in the area. The leadership, brotherhood and elan of troops on the glacier surpasses the icy heights. Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad symbolises every individual on the glacier. That there has not been a single incident of enemy transgression testifies the resoluteness of our troops. Our citizens can sleep in peace.

Pakistan pitches for mutual demilitarisation of Siachen after Lance Naik Koppad’s death

New Delhi: On a day Siachen braveheart Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad died, Pakistan on Thursday said time has come for “urgent” resolution of Siachen issue between it and India by mutually withdrawing troops from there to ensure more lives are not lost due to harsh conditions on the glacier.

Representational image. AFP

Representational image. AFP

Koppad, who was admitted to Army hospital after being rescued alive three days ago from beneath tonnes of snow six days after an avalanche hit his post in Siachen at an altitude of 19,600 feet, died earlier in the day.

“These tragedies only reinforce the need to resolve the issue… urgently and through peaceful means, through dialogue,” Pakistan High Commissioner Abdul Basit said while referring to a proposal of mutual withdrawal of troops from Siachen made by his Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif at the UN General Assembly last year.

“So, we strongly feel that the time has come to ensure that more lives are not lost due to harsh conditions in Siachen,” the Pakistan envoy added.

PTI

PM Modi condoles Siachen braveheart Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad’s death

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday condoled the demise of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who was extricated alive six days after an avalanche hit his post in Siachen Glacier, saying he has left “us sad and devastated”.”He leaves us sad & devastated. RIP Lance Naik Hanamanthappa. The soldier in you remains immortal. Proud that martyrs like you served India,” Modi tweeted.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The soldier died three days after he was miraculously rescued alive from beneath tonnes of snow at a height of 19,600 feet after the February 3 avalanche hit.The 33-year-old soldier of the 19th Battalion of Madras Regiment is survived by his wife Mahadevi Ashok Bilebal and two-year-old daughter Netra Koppad.A resident of village Betadur in Dharwad district of Karnataka, Koppad had joined the army 13 years back.The condition of Koppad, who was admitted to Army Research and Referral Hospital here on February 9, had deteriorated yesterday.

After 4-day battle for survival, Siachen miracle soldier Lance Naik Koppad passes away

Four days after miraculously surviving an avalanche at the Siachen glacier, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad died at an army hospital in Delhi.

Earlier, medical reports had said that he had slipped into deeper coma, and that he was was suffering multiple organ dysfunction. According to a report in Hindustan Times, when Koppad was rescued, he was conscious, but was drowsy and disoriented.

After Koppad’s death, television visuals showed grieving relatives mourning his death.

Doctors on Thursday said that condition of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, the Siachen braveheart who defied death for six days buried under snow, has deteriorated further and has slipped into deeper coma.

The Army Research and Referral Hospital said that the condition has become worse than earlier, even as a team of experts from AIIMS joined the military doctors in their bid to save the soldier’s life.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Sameer Yasir/firstpostLance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Sameer Yasir/firstpost

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Sameer Yasir/firstpost

Hanamanthappa was being treated by a team of intensivists, neurologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist and surgeons. He was also administered fluids and drugs to bring up his blood pressure, besides antibiotics.

He continued to remain extremely critical with evidence of oxygen deprivation to the brain on CT scan, a medical bulletin issued at 4 pm Wednesday evening said. There was evidence of pneumonia in both lungs. “His multi-organ dysfunction state continues unabated. His condition has deteriorated despite aggressive therapy and supportive care,” it added. Koppad was examined by a team of Army Hospital doctors comprising critical care specialists, HoD Dept of Medicine, senior nephrologist, senior neurologist and a panel of experts from AIIMS, New Delhi.

“The entire team was in agreement with the management (of medical problems) that the patient had undergone till now, and concurred with the future plan of management for him,” the Bulletin said. Hanamanthappa was evacuated by a helicopter earlier this week from the site of the avalanche that hit his post on Siachen Glacier before being shifted to Delhi in an IAF aircraft accompanied by a critical care specialist of the force and a medical specialist from the base camp.

With inputs from PTI

Siachen avalanche survivor man Hanumanthappa sinking; condition extremely critical

The best is not proving good enough for Siachen miracle man Lance Naik Hanumanthappa, whose condition deteriorated on Wednesday at Army Research and Referral (R&R) Hospital here, where he was flown in a day before.The lone survivor of an avalanche at the world’s highest battlefield, Siachen Glacier, on February 3, is being attended by a team of medical specialists from R&R hospital and AIIMS.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Even as the country holds its breath for him to get well and his family by his side, Hanumanthappa, who was pulled out alive on Monday night from under the 25-30ft debris of avalanche six days after getting buried, “continues to remain extremely critical with evidence of oxygen deprivation to the brain”, Army said.According to a health bulletin issued on Wednesday – second in the day – by R&R hospital, “There is evidence of pneumonia in both lungs. His multi-organ dysfunction state continues unabated. His condition has deteriorated despite aggressive therapy and supportive care.”Earlier in the day, Army said the medical team treating him at R&R is monitoring his situation continuously and using the best expertise and resources available.Five members of the family, including his wife Mahadevi Ashok, and 62-year-old mother Basamma reached Delhi on Tuesday night to be with Hanumanthappa who along with nine other soldiers of 19 Madras regiment were guarding the Sonam post located at an altitude of 19,500 feet in the northern glacier of Siachen when an 800 feet by 400 feet ice wall fell on them.While he was extricated out of the ice, the rest died and their mortal remains found. However, bad weather at the Indian Army base camp in Siachen hampered their remains to be carried back to their homes.”When weather permits, we will airlift their bodies from the glacier,” Defence Ministry spokesperson Nitin Wakankar said.

Hanamanthappa ‘highly-motivated’, served in ‘difficult, challenging’ areas, says officer

New Delhi: Army man Hanamanthappa Koppad, who survived for six days buried under tonnes of snow in the Siachen Glacier, is a highly-motivated soldier and has served in difficult and challenging areas for most of his 13 years in the army.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. IBNLiveLance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. IBNLive

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. IBNLive

Describing him as a “highly-motivated and physically fit” 33-year-old soldier, a senior officer said Koppad — who was enrolled in 19th Battalion of Madras Regiment on 25 October 2002 — had displayed remarkable initiative.

“He has served for 10 years in difficult and challenging areas out of his 13 years of service,” he said.

Lance Naik Koppad has served in Mahore in Jammu and Kashmir from 2003 to 2006 where he was actively involved in
counter-insurgency operations.

He again volunteered to serve with 54 Rashtriya Rifles (Madras) in Jammu and Kashmir from 2008 to 2010 and displayed indomitable courage in fighting terrorism.

Koppad also volunteered to serve in the North-East from 2010 to 2012 where he actively participated in successful
operations against NDFB and Ulfa.

He was serving in the super high-altitude areas of Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir from August last year and was chosen for deployment at one of the highest posts at an altitude of 19,600 feet since December, where personnel have to encounter temperatures of below minus 40 degrees Celsius and winds of up to 100 kmph.

Koppad was rescued on Monday from an altitude of 20,500 feet by a team of over 150 soldiers and two canines.

PTI

Siachen braveheart’s condition remains critical: Army hospital

The condition of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad of 19 Madras regiment, who was rescued alive six days after being buried under tonnes of ice in Siachen Glacier, remains very critical, the army said today.”He continues to battle the odds and his medical condition remains very critical,” a medical bulletin issued by Army Research and Referral Hospital here said.Hanamanthappa remains ventilator-dependent since arrival in the hospital yesterday, it said.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The medical team at R&R Hospital is monitoring his situation continuously and is treating him with best expertise and resources available in the world, the bulletin said.The hospital has said he is expected to have a stormy course in the “next 24 hours” due to the complications caused by re-warming and establishment of blood flow to the cold parts of the body.Hanamanthappa was flown out by a helicopter on Tuesday from the site of the avalanche that hit his post at Siachen Glacier along with a medical specialist to the base camp at the glacier, from where he was brought to the Thois air base.He was then transferred to Delhi by a fixed-wing aircraft of IAF along with a critical care specialist of the force and a medical specialist from the base camp.Hanamanthappa is being treated by a team of intensivists, neurologist, nephrologist, endocrinologist and surgeons. He has been administered fluids, drugs to bring up his blood pressure, besides antibiotics.

Liver and kidneys dysfunctional: Siachen survivor battles for life as India roots for Lance Naik

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who clung to life buried 30 feet under a massive ice and snow debris that hurtled down a mountain slope on unforgiving Siachen glacier, was on Tuesday battling for survival after being evacuated.

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa. Sameer Yasir/FirstpostLance Naik Hanamanthappa. Sameer Yasir/Firstpost

Lance Naik Hanamanthappa. Sameer Yasir/Firstpost

Prime Minister Modi described Koppad as an “outstanding soldier” whose “endurance and indomitable spirit” cannot be described in words. “We are all hoping and praying for the best,” Modi added. Parrikar said his prayers are with the soldier. “Doctors are putting in best. Let us pray for him,” he said.

According to CNN-IBN, liver and kidneys of the injured soldier are dysfunctional. He is comatose and his condition is extremely critical, Army Hospital Research and Referral said after Koppad was flown in here from Siachen Glacier.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh Suhag visited the hospital and asked the nation to pray for his well being.

Koppad, who was rescued yesterday from an altitude of 20,500 feet by a team of over 150 soldiers and two canines, Dot and Misha, and was initially declared dead by authorities, was flown in here by an IAF aircraft accompanied by a critical care specialist of the force and a medical specialist from the Siachen base camp.

Fortunately, there was no cold exposure-related frostbite or bony injuries to him, a medical bulletin issued by the hospital said. “He 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 hrs due to the complications caused by re-warming and establishment of blood flow to the cold parts of the body,” it said.

“It is a rebirth for all of us,” said Mahadevi, wife of Koppad, with a visible sense of relief as his miraculous survival. Mahadevi said the family was going through an ordeal after it came to know of the tragedy, but the news of his survival brought smiles back on their faces. We were going through a painful ordeal after the avalanche struck…The news of his survival brought smiles back on our faces. We were all crying and had almost lost hope. I didn’t know what to do. I have a one-and-half-year old daughter,” she said.

With PTI

Siachen miracle: Lance Naik Koppad had served in ‘difficult, challenging’ areas, says senior officer

Army man Hanamanthappa Koppad, who survived for six days buried under tonnes of snow in the Siachen Glacier, is a highly-motivated soldier and has served in difficult and challenging areas for most of his 13 years in the army.Describing him as a “highly-motivated and physically fit” 33-year-old soldier, a senior officer said Koppad — who was enrolled in 19th Battalion of Madras Regiment on October 25, 2002 — had displayed remarkable initiative.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>”He has served for 10 years in difficult and challenging areas out of his 13 years of service,” he said.Lance Naik Koppad has served in Mahore in Jammu and Kashmir from 2003 to 2006 where he was actively involved in counter-insurgency operations. He again volunteered to serve with 54 Rashtriya Rifles (Madras) in J-K from 2008 to 2010 and displayed indomitable courage in fighting terrorism.Koppad also volunteered to serve in the north-east from 2010 to 2012 where he actively participated in successful operations against NDFB and ULFA. He was serving in the super high-altitude areas of Siachen Glacier in J-K from August last year and was chosen for deployment at one of the highest posts at an altitude of 19,600 feet since December, where personnel have to encounter temperatures of below minus 40 degrees Celsius and winds of up to 100kmph.Koppad was rescued yesterday from an altitude of 20,500 feet by a team of over 150 soldiers and two canines.

It’s a rebirth for us, says Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad’s wife

Dharwad, Karnataka: “It is a rebirth for all of us,” said Mahadevi, wife of Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad, with a sense of relief as the family reacted to the news of his miraculous survival after remaining buried under snow for six days at Siachen Glacier.

Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad's mother and wife at their home in Betadoor village in Hubli on Tuesday.  Hanumanthappa, who is being treated at Army hospital in Delhi, was miraculously found alive after remaining buried under huge mass of snow for six days at Siachen Glacier. PTILance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad's mother and wife at their home in Betadoor village in Hubli on Tuesday.  Hanumanthappa, who is being treated at Army hospital in Delhi, was miraculously found alive after remaining buried under huge mass of snow for six days at Siachen Glacier. PTI

Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad’s mother and wife at their home in Betadoor village in Hubli on Tuesday. Hanumanthappa, who is being treated at Army hospital in Delhi, was miraculously found alive after remaining buried under huge mass of snow for six days at Siachen Glacier. PTI

“My husband’s grandmother inspired him in his life. Her prayers saved him from certain death in Siachen. It is a 
rebirth for all of us,” Mahadevi, residing at Betadur village in Kundagol taluk of Dharwad district, said.

Hanumanthappa, who hails from Karnataka, was found alive on Monday after being buried under 25 feet of snow for six
days following an avalanche that had hit his post at an altitude of 19,600 feet where the temperature was minus 45
degrees Celsius.

Mahadevi said the family was going through a painful ordeal after the members came to know of the tragedy, but the 
news of his survival brought smiles back on faces.

“We were going through a painful ordeal after the avalanche struck…The news of his survival brought smiles back on our faces. We were all crying and almost lost hope. I didn’t know what to do – I have one-and-half-year old girl child,” she said.

Eshwar, Hanamanthappa’s cousin, praised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for visiting Koppad who is on a ventillator at
the Army’s Research and Referral Hospital in New Delhi.

“What should I say about the gesture Modi has shown to a simple soldier. It is heartening that a person who is Prime Minister of India visited him,” he told PTI.

Eshwar also appreciated the concern shown by Army officials who had visited the family members and gave hope of
his survival.

“The army officials had visited us and instilled hope by saying ‘don’t worry, nothing will happen. The Army had said will find him out and retrieve him alive from the glacier,” he said.

The family of six members left for Goa from where they would take a flight to Delhi in the evening to be with
Hanamanthappa who is critical, Eshwar said.

Eshwar said the entire Betadur village greeted the news of survival of Hanumanthappa with a sense of relief.

“Some of them were offering prayers in temples for Hanumathappa’s survival. They were happy when they realised
their prayers have been heard by the Almighty,” he said.

Meanwhile, noted Karnataka-based industrialist and MP Rajiv Chandrasekhar has announced he would take care of the
travel and accommodation of Hanumanthappa’s family in New Delhi.

Chandrasekhar said in a statement said that “all the help that the family of the injured soldier requires will be taken care of to assist them in this hour of anxiety and worry.”   

He also prayed for Hanamanthappa’s speedy  recovery and support to his family in the hour crisis.

“My heartfelt prayers for a speedy recovery and support to his family at this hour. I salute the soldier and hope he recovers  soon,” he said.

He also joined the nation in grieving the death of other nine soldiers in the natural disaster.

“Our soldiers of the Indian Armed forces guard the nation at Siachen – the world’s highest battleground 24 x7  braving not only enemy hostility but also the harsh and inhospitable weather,” he said.

PTI

Siachen avalanche: Determination of over 150 soldiers and two canines rescued Lance Naik Koppad

Dogged determination of over 150 soldiers helped by two canines, Dot and Misha, besides earth penetrating radars and special ice cutting equipment helped rescue Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who was buried under tonnes of ice at 19,500 feet on the Siachen Glacier.On February 3, an 800X400ft ice wall broke off and covered an army post in northern glacier in Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield. The debris, including massive ice boulders, some the size of a small room, spread over 800×1000 metres.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>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.Over 150 trained and acclimatised army troops, including specialised teams trained in glaciated terrain, were moved into the avalanche site and round-the-clock rescue operations were carried out in extreme weather conditions where average day temperatures was minus 30 degrees Celsius and night temperature below minus 55 degrees.Also read: Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad in comatose state, condition critical, says ArmyMedical teams and equipment were moved in and a post established to provide emergency treatment at the rescue site itself. Specialized rescue dogs were also pressed into service.”The dogs, Dot and Misha, did a tremendous job,” the officials said.Specialized digging and boring equipment, like rock drills, electrical saws and earth augers were flown in.In addition, deep penetration radars, capable of detecting metallic objects and heat signatures at a depth of 20 meters, and radio signal detectors were also flown in using Air Force fixed wing aircrafts and Army Aviation helicopters.Using the specialized equipment the rescue teams were able to identify locations, where digging were carried out. However, rescue efforts were frequently hampered by high velocity winds and blizzards. By yesterday, 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.”Him being found alive electrified the entire rescue team. There was a sudden burst of energy among the men,” officials said.When rescued, Koppad was conscious but drowsy and disoriented. He was severely “dehydrated, hypothermic, hypoxic, hypoglycemic and in shock”. He was immediately resuscitated by the doctors at the site, who had been there for the past 5 days in the hope of finding a survivor.He was treated with warm intravenous fluids, humidified warm oxygen and passive external rewarming. He was later moved to the Army andResearch Hospital here, they said.

Surviving soldier being flown from Siachen Glacier to Delhi hospital

Jammu: Lance Naik Hanaman Thappa, who was miraculously found alive after remaining buried in snow for six days, was on Tuesday evacuated to the army’s base camp at the Siachen Glacier from where he is being flown to Delhi’s Research and Referral Hospital in a special air ambulance.

Representational image. PTIRepresentational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

He will be brought to the Palam technical airport and airlifted to the hospital, army sources said.

Thappa, who hails from Karnataka, was found alive on Monday after being buried under 25 feet of snow for six days after an avalanche hit his post at the altitude of 19,600 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan where the temperature was minus 45 degrees Celsius.

The other nine personnel at the post, including a Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and eight other ranks of Madras Regiment, have died, according to Lt Gen D S Hooda, Northern Army Commander. “Five bodies have been recovered so far and four bodies have been identified,” he has said.

PTI

Siachen miracle: 6 days after avalanche, 1 Indian soldier rescued from under 25 ft of snow

New Delhi: One of 10 Indian soldiers feared dead after an avalanche six days ago in the remote Himalayas has been miraculously rescued alive, officials said.

He was found days after authorities said there was little chance of finding survivors following the Siachen Glacier accident last week.

The Siachen glacier. PTIThe Siachen glacier. PTI

The Siachen glacier. PTI

“In the ongoing rescue operation at Siachen, of the 10 soldiers buried… (one) has been found alive,” General D.S. Hooda from the army’s northern command said in a statement Monday.

“All other soldiers are regrettably no longer with us,” it added.

The rescued soldier, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa, was in critical condition and officials would try to evacuate him from the mountain later Tuesday morning to be moved to an army hospital in New Delhi.

“We hope the miracle continues. Pray with us,” the statement said.

He was buried under nearly eight metres (25 feet) of snow, according to PTI news agency.

The soldiers were on duty at an army post on a glacier at an altitude of 5,900 metres when it was hit by the massive avalanche.

Specialist army and air force teams had been searching for the missing soldiers near the de facto border with Pakistan.

The army had said the odds of finding anyone alive were very slim, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi offered condolences in a message on Twitter last week.

Indian troops patrol the Siachen Glacier, dubbed the world’s highest battlefield, in the Kashmir region, which is disputed between India and Pakistan.

Avalanches and landslides are common in the area during winter and temperatures can drop as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius (minus 76 degrees Fahrenheit).

An estimated 8,000 troops have died on the glacier since 1984, almost all of them from avalanches, landslides, frostbite, altitude sickness or heart failure rather than combat.

Nuclear-armed rivals India and Pakistan fought over Siachen in 1987. But guns on the glacier have largely fallen silent since a peace process began in 2004.

AFP

Siachen Avalanche: Body of one of 10 soldiers recovered; search operation continues

Army on Monday recovered body of one of the 10 soldiers who died in an avalanche in Siachen Glacier six days back and efforts to locate the mortal remains of the rest continue, defence spokesman said. Army teams have been sifting through the huge mass of ice in the treacherous region, sometimes digging more than 30 feet to find the soldiers who are buried.”After intense and exhausting search operations, which has entered its sixth day, rescue parties have hit the Camp Site and recovered the mortal remains of one martyr,” Srinagar-based Defence spokesman Lt Col N N Joshi said but did not identify him.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Junior Commissioned Officer (JCO) and nine other ranks of Madras Regiment were buried after an avalanche hit their post at an altitude of 19,000 feet in the highest battlefield on earth. Joshi said a new camp has been established at the location to coordinate the rescue efforts as well as to continue vigil in the sensitive area.”Rescue teams are cutting through upto 30 feet of ice at multiple locations where our soldiers could be buried. Probable locations are identified by using specialised equipment which was inducted along with the rescue teams,” he said.The spokesman said reports from the ground indicate the efforts are hampered by frequent snow blizzards, extreme freezing temperatures and low visibility apart from the effects of rarefied atmosphere in such high altitude.”The teams are working round the clock and observing all precautions since the unstable ice and snow in the region could trigger fresh avalanches. Rescue efforts will continue till all our soldiers are found,” he added.

Efforts on to look for bodies of soldiers buried in Siachen after avalanche

Jammu: For the third day on Friday, teams of army and air force continued to dig into a huge mass of snow to recover bodies of 10 army personnel who were buried on Wednesday after an avalanche hit their military post on Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir.

Representational image. PTI

Representational image. PTI

Specialised teams assisted by sniffer dogs continued to look for the bodies of the soldiers — one Junior Commissioned Officer and other ranks of Madras Regiment.

“The operation has entered third consecutive day today. The rescue operation is continuing with additional specialised equipment and teams deployed at the site of avalanche,” PRO Defence Northern Command Col SD Goswami said.

The 10 Army personnel were buried under a huge mass of snow after being hit by an avalanche at a high-altitude post situated at 19,000 feet on Siachen Glacier.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released the names of the buried soldier at Siachen glacier.

They were: JCO Subedar Nagesha T T of village Tejur, Hassan District, Karnataka, Havildar Elumalai M of village Dukkam Parai, Vellore District, Tamil Nadu, Lance Havildar S Kumar R/o vill Kumanan Thozhu, Teni District, Tamil Nadu, Lance Naik Sudheesh B R/o village Monroethuruth, Kollam District, Kerala, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad R/o village Betadur, Dharwad District, Karnataka, Sepoy Mahesha PN R/o village HD Kote, Mysore District, Karnataka, Sepoy Ganesan G R/o village Chokkathevan Patti, Madurai District, Tamil Nadu, Sepoy Rama Moorthy N R/o village  Gudisatana Palli, Krishna Giri District, Tamil Nadu, Sep Mustaq Ahmed S R/o village Parnapalle,  Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh and Sepoy Nursing Assistant Suryawanshi SV R/o village Maskarwadi, Satara District,  Maharashtra.

Defence PRO has earlier on Thursday said in statement in Jammu that “Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors. However, it is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had last night confirmed the deaths when he tweeted: “Demise of soldiers in Siachen is very tragic. I salute the brave soldiers who gave their lives to the nation. Condolences to their families.”

The glaciated area presents temperatures ranging from a minimum of minus 42 degrees Celsius in the night to maximum of minus 25 degrees C during the day.

PTI

Siachen avalanche: Govt releases names of 10 soldiers killed at icy heights in treacherous terrain

Names of the 10 soldiers who laid their lives in the line of duty on Wednesday (3 February) owing to a deadly avalanche in the Siachen Glacier were released on Friday by the Ministry of Defence.

Treacherous terrain. Reuters

Ten army personnel were killed when an avalanche hit a military post in Siachen. Reuters

The soldiers belonging to the Madras Regiment had little chance to protect themselves as tonnes of snow covered them in no time, making it even tough for the rescuers to even retrieve their bodies despite the best efforts of both men and machine combined.

The graveness of the situation can be gauged from the fact that the Army is even having difficulties in contacting the rescue team which had gone to trace the bodies.

While four soldiers were from Tamil Nadu, three of them were natives of Karnataka. The states of Kerala, Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh lost a brave son each in the tragedy. Following are names of the martyrs along with details of their ranks and their native places:

(1) Subedar Nagesha TT r/o vill Tejur, Hassan Dist, Karnataka.
(2) Havildar Elumalai M r/o vill Dukkam Parai, Vellore Dist, Tamil Nadu.
(3) Lance Havildar S Kumar r/o vill Kumanan Thozhu, Teni Dist, Tamil Nadu.
(4) Lance Naik Sudheesh B r/o vill Monroethuruth, Kollam Dist, Kerala.
(5) Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad r/o vill Betadur , Dharwad Dist, Karnataka.
(6) Sepoy Mahesha PN r/o vill HD Kote, Mysore Dist, Karnataka.
(7) Sepoy Ganesan G r/o village Chokkathevan Patti, Madurai Dist, Tamil Nadu.
(8) Sepoy Rama Moorthy N r/o vill Gudisatana Palli , Krishna Giri Dist, Tamil Nadu.
(9) Sep Mustaq Ahmed S r/o vill Parnapalle, Kurnool Dist, Andhra Pradesh.
(10) Sepoy Nursing Assistant Suryawanshi SV r/o village Maskarwadi, Satara Dist, Maharashtra

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had on Thursday mourned the loss of these soldiers on Twitter. “Demise of soldiers in Siachen is very tragic. I salute the brave soldiers who gave their lives to the nation. Condolences to their families,” Modi had tweeted.

Reports had said that Congress president Sonia Gandhi also expressed shock and deep distress on the confirmation of the demise of the ten Army personnel.

Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had also tweeted, saying he was “very sad to know that 10 of our brave soldiers lost their lives.”

The situation was already grim as a defence spokesman had earlier said that chances of finding any survivors were “very remote” after the deadly avalanche hit the affected army post at an altitude of 19,600 feet.

“Rescue teams are braving adverse weather and effects of rarified atmosphere to locate and rescue survivors. However, it is with deepest of regrets that we have to state that chances of finding any survivors are now very remote,” Defence PRO (Northern Command) Col SD Goswami had said in a statement in Jammu.

The Siachen Glacier in the Karakorum range is known as the highest militarised zone in the world. Thousands of Indian and Pakistani troops contest an area at altitudes above 20,000 feet where they must deal with altitude sickness, high winds, frostbite and temperatures as low as minus 60 degrees Celsius.

An estimated 8,000 troops have died on the glacier since 1984, almost all of them from avalanches, landslides, frostbite, altitude sickness or heart failure rather than combat, local media reports have said.

Siachen avalanche: Vice-President, Army Chief condole death of security personnel

New Delhi: Vice-President Hamid Ansari has expressed grief over the death of 10 army personnel in an avalanche on Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir.

“I am deeply grieved to learn about the fatal avalanche in the Siachen involving 10 of our army personnel,” the Vice President Ansari said in a statement.

“I offer my sincere condolences to the bereaved families of the brave soldiers and officer of the Indian Army,” he said.

The avalanche in Siachen. PTIThe avalanche in Siachen. PTI

The avalanche in Siachen. PTI

The 10 personnel, including an officer, were buried under a mass of snow after being hit by an avalanche on Wednesday at a high-altitude post on Siachen Glacier. The personnel were attached to Madras regiment.

Extending condolences to the bereaved families, the Chief of Army Staff, Gen. Dalbir Singh, ordered deployment of additional resources, including radars to reinforce rescue efforts, an official said.

Army and IAF had taken part in efforts to rescue the soldiers, who were trapped under snow after their post was hit by the avalanche at an altitude of 19,000 feet close to the Line of Control (LoC) with Pakistan.

PTI

Massive rescue ops on to save 10 Indian soldiers buried in Siachen avalanche

Ten soldiers, including an officer, went missing on Wednesday after an avalanche hit them in Siachen Glacier in Jammu and Kashmir’s Ladakh region.

“Ten soldiers, including a junior commissioned officer (JCO), are missing after an avalanche hit their patrol at 19,000 feet above the sea level in southern side of the Siachen Glacier early Wednesday,” Colonel S.D. Goswami, spokesman of army’s Udhampur headquartered northern command, told IANS here.

Army spokesperson NN Joshi said several personnel from the Madras Regiment were buried on the northern side of the glacier, reports The Hindustan Times.

“A massive rescue operation has been started by the army and the Air Force to trace the missing personnel who are feared buried under the avalanche,” Goswami said.

Siachin Glacier is the world’s highest battlefield which the brave hearts of the Indian Army guard despite extremely hostile climate.

The winter temperatures often drops to minus 50 degrees Celsius in the region.

The Indian Express reports that one junior commissioned officer (JCO) and nine jawans of the Army’s 19 Madras battalion have been trapped since early Wednesday morning. The post is at 19,600 feet on the Actual Ground Position Line (AGPL) — the border with Pakistan at Siachen glacier — in the vicinity of Bana post.

With IANS inputs

Avalanche hits Siachen Glacier, more than 10 Indian Army personnel missing

More than 10 soldiers of the Army have been reported missing after an avalanche hit the Siachen Glacier in Ladakh in Jammu and Kashmir on Wednesday.The avalanche hit the northern part of the glacier. The missing army personnel belong to the Madras Regiment, says a report in the Tribune.An Army spokesperson said to the publication that rescue efforts had been launched. However, further details about the status of those missing are not available yet.<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Last month, four soldiers of 3 Ladakh Scouts were killed when their patrol party was hit by a massive avalanche in the Ladkah region of Jammu and Kashmir.