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Bengal woman climber Chhanda Gayen, 2 sherpas missing in Kanchenjunga bid

Calcutta, May 21 (PTI): Prominent mountaineer Chhanda Gayen and two accompanying sherpas who were attempting to climb the 8,505-metre-high Kangchenjunga West, known as Yalung Kang in Nepal, are reported to be missing.

Gayen, best known for being the first civilian woman from West Bengal to climb Mount Everest, went missing on Tuesday after being caught in an avalanche, according to information received here.

She conquered the 8,585-metre high Kanchenjunga Main, the third tallest peak, on May 18 along with three other city climbers, Tusi Das, Dipankar Ghosh and Rajib Bhattacharjee.

Tusi, Rajiv and Dipankar decided to return to base camp from the summit while Chhanda along with sherpas Dawa Wangchu and Mingma Temba, went on to climb the nearby Yalung Kang, also known as Kanchenjuga West.

While Dawa is from Darjeeling, Mingma hails from Nepal.

Talking to PTI, Pasang Futar, a veteran sherpa who lives in the same area where Dawa Sherpa stays, said “We received information from Kathmandu today that Dawa and Pemba along with Chhanda are missing after being caught in an avalanche beyond the Camp three area while coming down from the summit of Kanchenjunga West on Tuesday”.

She had scaled Mount Everest and Lohtse, the highest and fourth highest mountain in the world respectively, last year.

The West Bengal Government has announced all necessary help to the climbers in this incident.

State youth services minister Arup Biswas said the Nepalese government has been contacted and necessary arrangements are being made for their search and rescue.

The Nepalese government has already launched helicopter search for the missing climbers, sources said here.