Gorkhatimes

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Mumbai climber feared dead in Sikkim avalanche

Posted by Ramesh Khati on October 21, 2009

Mount Thingchinkhang: Tragic summit

Mount Thingchinkhang: Tragic summit

Gangtok, Oct. 20(The Telegraph): A Mumbai-based mountaineer is feared to have been killed in an avalanche yesterday afternoon after descending from Mount Thingchinkhang that he had successfully summitted with four others.

According to the district collector of West Sikkim, S. Pradhan, one death had been reported but the identity of the victim is yet to be determined because the group could not be contacted. A rescue operation has been launched. Mount Thingchinkhang rises to 19,712 feet above sea level.

“A team of four mountaineers from Mumbai had scaled the peak and were on the way down to the base camp when an avalanche hit them. Four others, including porters, have been reportedly injured. More details are awaited as the area is very remote and inaccessible. A porter accompanying the team had rushed down from the base camp to a village above Yuksom and gave the news about the incident,” Pradhan said.

According to forest officials posted at the Kanchenjungha National Park in Yuksom, the team of five mountaineers, Mangesh Deshpande, Anju Paniculam, Sadasivan Sekar, Shantanu Pandit and Parag Pendharkar, all from Mumbai, had gone past the forest check post on October 12.

The officials said the team had a climbing permit issued by the state home department, after ratification by the Union home ministry. The permit is valid till October 24.

Five porters and a liaison officer of the state home department made up the rest of the team.

According to the porter, Anju had stayed back at the base camp at 14,000 feet after falling ill and the rest of the climbers summitted the peak on October 18.

The porter told the officials that the team was some 500 metres from the summit when the avalanche hit them, killing one climber and injuring the others.

Sources in the state home department said the porter could only reach the village above Yuksom, 138km from here, yesterday and the report arrived in Gangtok this morning. It usually takes three days to trek from Yuksom to the base camp.

The sources said a team of Sherpas has arrived in Sikkim and were on a rescue mission. The rescue team also comprises members of the travel agents’ association besides state government officials.

Although it is impossible to land near the peak, an army helicopter has made a recce of the area this afternoon.

The name of the victim can only be determined once the rescue team reaches the spot.

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