NEW DELHI: President Pranab Mukherjee on Thursday condoled the demise of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad, who passed away at the Army's Research and Referral Hospital here, and said that the Siachen survivor was a hero who demonstrated exemplary willpower and courage in the face of adversity.
“I am deeply sad to learn about the passing away of your son, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad. Lance Naik Koppad was a hero who demonstrated exemplary will power and courage in the face of adversity,” President Mukherjee said in his message to the Lance Naik’s mother Basamma Koppad.
“He made the supreme sacrifice in the line of duty. In this moment of grief, the sympathies and condolences of the entire nation are with your family and you. The nation shall always remember Lance Naik Hanamanthappa for his bravery and indomitable spirit,” he added.
Conveying his heartfelt condolences, the President said, “Please accept my heartfelt condolences and convey them to the members of your family. I pray to the Almighty to give you and your family the strength and courage to bear this irreparable loss.”
Vice President Hamid Ansari also condoled the Lance Naik’s demise and said that he was the symbol of grit, determination and the indomitable spirit of the Indian armed forces.
“I am extremely saddened to learn of the demise of Lance Naik Hanamanthappa Koppad earlier today. A survivor of the mishap at Siachen, he had come to symbolize the grit, determination and the indomitable spirit of the Indian armed forces,” Vice President Ansari said.
“I join the nation in praying for eternal rest for the departed soul and in offering solace and fortitude to the members of the bereaved family,” he added.
He also commended the valiant effort of the army rescue team, which tried their best to save the life of the Siachen braveheart.
“The role of the Army rescue team and the doctors and staff of the Army (Research & Referral) Hospital in making the valiant effort to save Lance Naik Hanumanthappa Koppad have been commendable,” he said.
Minister of State for External Affairs General (Retd.) V.K. Singh on his part said that it would have been a miracle for the second time in six days had the Siachen braveheart survived.
“It was a miracle for anybody to survive for six days buried under avalanche, under 35 feet of snow. It required another miracle to survive and we really feel bad that this miracle did not happen second time,” General (Retd.) Singh told ANI.
Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Omar Abdullah also condoled the Lance Naik’s demise, saying ‘despair followed by joy only to have that replaced by despair again’.
“Double tragedy for #LanceNaik #Hanumanthappa's family, despair followed by joy only to have that replaced by despair again. May he RIP,” Omar tweeted.
Meanwhile, a wreath laying ceremony is being held at Delhi's Brar Square where the three defence chiefs namely, Army Chief Dalbir Singh Suhag, Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha and Navy Chief Admiral R.K. Dhowan would pay their tributes to the Indian braveheart.
Four days after he was found alive in Siachen, Lance Naik Hanamanthappa died in the hospital this morning.
He is survived by his wife Mahadevi Ashok Bilebal and a two-year-old daughter.