Lt Col Robert T.A. and Sapper Sapala Shanmukha Rao of the Indian Army lost their lives in an avalanche in the mountainous Lugnak La region of north Sikkim, officials said. The two personnel were part of an 18-member group which came under the avalanche, they said. “A patrolling-cum-snow clearance party came under an avalanche in North Sikkim on 14 May,” a senior Army official said. “In spite of the best efforts of the rescue team and local formation an officer Lt Col Robert TA and sapper Sapala Shanmukha Rao who were trapped under the ice lost their lives,” he said.
Lieutenant Colonel Robert T A joined the Indian Army in June 2000 and after 4 years of training was commissioned as Lieutenant in June 2004. He was the eldest son of Thoiba Angelus from Maram Centre. He studied at the College of Military Engineering, Pune and earned his B-Tech Civil Engineering degree from JNU Delhi. The officer along with his team members competed in the prestigious Army Adventure Challenge Cup 2008 and emerged as Winner. For this act, he was awarded the Vice-Chief of the Army Staff Commendation.