Family members of Siachen avalanche survivor Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad flew to New Delhi on Tuesday night from Panaji to be with him as he battles for life in an army hospital, an official said.
“Koppad’s family was taken to the army hospital from the Indira Gandhi airport in a military car by the army to be his bedside,” the official told IANS from Bengaluru, about 430 km from here.
Earlier, the state government made arrangements to fly Koppad’s family members to Delhi from Panaji in Goa, the nearest airport to Delhi.
News of Koppad miraculously being alive six days after he was buried in a Siachen glacier in an avalanche on February 3 rejoiced his family, which almost gave up hopes of seeing him again.
“The state government has made arrangements for the family’s stay at Karnataka Bhavan in New Delhi and transportation to reach the hospital at the earliest,” Dharwad Deputy Commissioner P. Rajendran Cholan told reporters here earlier.
According to army sources, Koppad’s family members — including wife Mahadevi, mother Basavva, daughter Netra and brother Govindappa — went in a car to Panaji from their native place Betadur near here, about 10 km from this city.
Koppad of the 19th Madras Regiment was posted at the Siachen glacier, where nine of his colleagues were also buried about 40 feet deep in the avalanche in minus 40 degrees Celsius.
When Koppad was flown to Delhi from Siachen in an air ambulance earlier in the day for reviving him from a comatose condition, the village folk joined his family to offer special prayers for his speedy recovery from a critical condition.
“There is a ray of hope amid gloom in the village with prayers for Koppad’s precious life,” the source said.
The defence ministry had advised the state government to make special arrangements for rushing Koppad’s family to Delhi so that he could see them at the earliest.
“It is a punar janam (rebirth) for him and all of us,” Mahadevi told news channels, which rushed to Koppad’s village for his family’s response to the news of his being alive amidst gloom and doom.