The government wants to leave no stone unturned in making efforts to search Tapi Mra (the first mountaineer from Arunachal Pradesh to conquer Mount Everest) and his associate Niku Dao, who were on a mission to climb the state’s highest peak.
“Four of the Army helicopters have been kept on standby to undertake an aerial search once the weather clears to trace Tapi Mra and his associate Niku Dao” a defence official said on Wednesday.
Defence spokesperson, Lieutenant Colonel Mahendra Rawat said that it has been informed that two members of the expedition have been reported to be untraceable, since August 17. This information was received as the remaining six members of the expedition reached Seppa from their expedition base camp on August 29 evening.
The state government has sought help from the Indian Army’s Tezpur-Head Quarter, in the search and rescue mission.
“The Indian Army has already mounted the operation. Two Advanced Light Helicopters (ALH) and two Cheetah helicopters have been put on standby and the team members on board would carry an aerial reconnaissance of the area once the weather clears,” Rawat said.
Indian army’s highly trained Special Forces and Arunachal Scouts teams have also been deployed for the ground search operations in the challenging terrain of the expedition area.
East Kameng District officials said that Mra and Dao were reported missing since they had embarked on scaling Arunachal Pradesh’s highest snow-capped peak ‘Khyarw Satam’, about 6,900 metres in height.
The special rescue teams are all set for a search operation and if required, they will be air dropped for evacuation, if any clues on the actual location of missing mountaineers are found.
It takes about a week to trek to the base camp (5,000 metres) of ‘Khyarw Satam’. It is a tough terrain, which also needs a trek through dense forests to reach the place.
Chief Minister Pema Khandu also prayed for the safety of the missing mountaineers and said that the State Sports Department is ready with plans to trace them.