Gorkhatimes

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Two mountaineers killed in Sikkim avalanche

Posted by Ramesh Khati on October 22, 2009

Mumbai, Oct 22 (IANS): Two mountaineers from Maharashtra, who were on a climbing expedition to the Himalayas in Sikkim, were killed when an avalanche hit them Monday, a member of the team said Wednesday.

The five-member team – sent by Chakram Hikers, Mulund – had gone to scale the 6,010-metre Mt. Tinchen Khang in western Sikkim, its vice-president Kiran Deshmukh told IANS here Wednesday evening.

The group included Mangesh Deshpande, 43, and Parag Pendharkar, 46, both of Pune, and Sadasivan Sekhar, 26, of Thane.

Both Deshpande and Sekhar have been killed, Deshmukh said.

There were two Mumbaikars – Anju Panikulam, 38, of Goregaon suburb, and Shantaram Pandit, 46, of Chembur suburb.

‘On receipt of the first SOS, we organised search and rescue operations in the region which is presently witnessing very bad weather and lot of snow,’ he said.

On Wednesday morning, two army helicopters made unsuccessful sorties to the region where the two victims are believed to have lost their lives.

However, on account of inclement weather conditions in the upper reaches, they could not land.

The Maharashtra team was accompanied by a five-member team of local guides-cum-porters on the expedition which had started more than 10 days ago.

Deshmukh said that the remoteness of the region coupled with bad weather is making even basic communication with the base camp and other agencies in Sikkim impossible.

According to an office-bearer who has rushed to Sikkim from Mumbai, the sole woman member – Anju and two associates could not make it to the peak on account of bad health.

The remaining two, accompanied by the guides, reached the peak and were returning when the avalanche struck.

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