NEW DELHI, Feb. 9 (UPI) -- An Indian soldier was found alive after being buried in the snow for six days after an avalanche that killed nine of his colleagues.
Lance Corporal Hanamanthappa Koppad was rescued from the military post on the Siachen glacier, at 19,000 feet elevation, in India-administered Kashmir near the border with China. Found under 30 feet of snow and ice, the critically ill soldier was airlifted to a Delhi hospital. Rescue teams used mechanical snow-cutting equipment, radar and dog teams to search for the missing troops.
The area, called the world's highest battlefield, is patrolled by Indian and Pakistani soldiers; both countries claim the territory, where temperatures routinely fall to -60 degrees Fahrenheit. Four Indian soldiers died in an avalanche there in January.
Koppad and his unit were on duty at an army post, near the Line Of Control separating Indian and Pakistani-administered Kashmir, when the avalanche overcame them. Rescue teams immediately began a search, but the odds of survival were so slim Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi sent messages of condolence last week. Modi announced Tuesday he would visit the surviving soldier in the hospital.