The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Asansol adventurers trapped in Gangotri

Lucknow, Sept. 12: Five members of a mountaineering team from Asansol who had gone to scale the Gangotri-III peak are trapped in the Garhwal Himalayas for more than a week amidst snowfall and incessant rain.

The stranded mountaineers, who include expedition’s deputy leader Gautam Mukherjee and three porters, had last communicated to their base camp at Rudragera on September 5. Since then, neither the team-members nor the police rescue teams have been able to reach them, Uttarkashi additional superintendent of police Vishram Ram told The Telegraph.

“According to the porter who carried their last message, they had food and fuel for only two-days,” Ram said. “We are keeping our fingers crossed on the fate of these people.”

Though a team from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police finally made it to the Rudragera base camp today, it could not proceed towards the summit camp at 18,000 feet because of inclement whether.

Ram ruled out any attempt to reach the stranded mountaineers by helicopter due to the rain and snow.

According to information from Uttarkashi, the 10-member team and its five porters reached the base camp at Rudragera on August 27.

Leaving back three members at the base camp, the expedition led by Jasveer Singh reached the summit camp the next day. From there, Singh asked Mukherjee and another mountaineer to attempt scaling Gangotri-III peak and returned to the base camp.

On September 5, Mukherjee scaled the peak and sent a message to the base camp requesting the expedition leader to send two or three other members to the summit camp to make an attempt at Gangotri-III.

But that night, the weather turned hostile with heavy snowfall foiling the team’s efforts to reach the summit camp. The group leader and the other members were forced to return to the base on September 6.

Next day, local police at Gangotri were informed about the stranded mountaineers. A seven-member rescue team comprising policemen and homeguards was sent but it failed to reach even the base camp despite repeated attempts.

A rescue team from the Indo-Tibetan Border Police started from Gangotri last evening and managed to reach the Rudragera camp today. But it could not venture beyond that.

Chandra Bahadur, the porter who brought the last message to the group leader at the base camp, had said that Mukherjee and his team had only two days of ration and fuel left to fight heavy rain and sub-zero temparatures.

Our Calcutta bureau adds: State youth services minister Mohammad Salim said at Writers’ Buildings today that “two members” of the mountaineering club, Rooptapas — Mukherjee and Tapas Dawn — were missing along with four porters.

The mountaineering association got in touch with the minister for assistance in ensuring proper search operations.

Salim wrote to the Centre today seeking co-operation on the issue.

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