Soldier's mortal remains recovered at Siachen after 21 years

Soldier's mortal remains recovered at Siachen after 21 years

Soldier's mortal remains recovered at Siachen after 21 years

After 21 years and at an altitude of 17,000 feet, the partially decomposed body of a soldier has been recovered in Siachen, the world’s highest battlefield.

Havildar T V Patil, a soldier with the 4th Maratha Light Infantry, went missing on February 27, 1993. It was assumed that he died after falling into a crevasse, one of the numerous death traps found all over Siachen as well as other icy regions of the world.

Earlier this week, when a patrol team from 12 Madras were out on duty, they found a dark patch, few hundred metres away from the patrol line. On closer inspection, the team discovered the partially decomposed body of an Army man with a piece of rope still tied around his waist.

Patil’s identity was established from two papers he was carrying in his pocket. The first one is a letter from his home in Vasigaon in Sangli district of Maharashtra, the second document was the medical fitness certificate from the unit’s doctor, on the eve of his posting to Siachen.

The body was recovered on October 12 near Bila post on the glacier. It could not be brought down due to inclement weather, though his family has been informed, said an Army officer.

He is survived by wife and three children, including a son who is an engineer now. Though his body could not be found all these years, the villagers installed a memorial for him in his village. It is not the first case of a cruel twist of fate that has befallen the Patil family. Havildar Patil’s brother, who served in 6 Maratha Light Infantry, too, died in Siachen. His body is still missing, said Army sources.

Since 1984, India has lost close to 900 Army men in Siachen and majority of them died due to harsh climatic conditions and challenging terrain on the 76 km long glacier.

Nevertheless, around 3,000 soldiers are being deployed on the glacier where temperatures drop to minus 60 degrees in winters, as India dominates all the strategically important heights.