Altogether 31 army personnel, three local mountaineers and 60 porters embarked on a mission to rescue Everester Tapi Mra and his assistant Niki Dao of Arunachal Pradesh on Thursday.
The duo went incommunicado since August 17 while on an official expedition to Mount Kyarisatam (locally known as Mt Chiumo) located along the India-Tibet border at an altitude of 6,890 metres.
A team comprising Mra, Dao and 11 porters were mobilised for the expedition from July 28 to the snow-capped Mount Kyarisatam in Arunachal Pradesh’s East Kameng district.All the porters belonging to Warram, Longchu, Sario Sari, Wallongand Yakli villages in the district have returned home.
The duo left Camp 2 on August 17, eight days from the base camp, to launch their bid to scale the summit, according to one of the porters (Karbia Wallong) who reached the district headquarters Seppa on Tuesday evening.He narrated about their journey to the East Kameng administration, which had been preparing for the search and rescue operation, both aerial and by land, since Monday.
Mra, 37, is the first from the frontier state to scale Mount Everest in 2009 and hails from Upper Siang district. His companion Dao, 22, hails from the East Kameng district.
East Kameng deputy commissioner Pravimal Abhishek Polumatla told The Telegraph that a 94-member team launched the search operation from Seppa at 9.30am of Thursday amid incessant rain.The army’s help was requisitioned because two months ago their personnel had done a “recce” of the area.
They are not only familiar with the lay of the land but are also trained in high-altitude mountaineering.“The search operation could not be launched on Tuesday because of adverse weather conditions. And there is also so much to look into logistics-wise for this challenging trip. The objective of the mission is to identify the location of the two mountaineers and safely rescue them. We have adopted a two-pronged strategy to locate them — chopper and foot-based search and rescue operations,” he said.
But the challenges involved include trekking 10 to 12 days to reach the “search area” and the widespread rain/thundershowers predicted by the Met office for the next 5 days in the East Kameng district, the deputy commissioner said.
The helicopter search and rescue operation (SAR) will be led by Major Navneet Singh Rana of 11 Para (SF) while the foot-based SAR will be led by Captain Longjam Posy Singh, also of the 11 Para (SF).The army search team led by Singh includes personnel from the 11 Para (Special Forces), 2 Arunachal Scouts and 7 Dogra. The three mountaineers — are Tame Bagang from East Kameng district and Tagit Sorang and Taro Hai from Kra Daadi districts. The ground team is accompanied by 60 porters on this challenging mission, Abhishek said.Altogether four choppers, two advanced light helicopters (ALH) and two Cheetahs — are on standby since August 30 but adverse weather conditions hindering operations, Abhishek said.