A timely intervention by local villagers helped save the lives of two missing research scholars from Panchachuli in Pithoragarh district on Sunday. Due to dense fog in Panchachuli, the two scholars from Himachal Pradesh had been missing since 3 August. On receiving information, the Pithoragarh district administration had a dispatched a search and rescue team.

Confirming the rescue, RS Rana of the District Disaster Management Centre said, “The students are fine and safe. Reportedly missing from the Nagnidhura area in higher reaches of Munsyari, the students were found by guide and villagers of Khultham and Dhilam and they will return by Monday, with the support of local people and disaster management team.”

Research scholars Pradeep Sharma and Rajesh Bora, with their guide Dhan Singh Lautani, were touring the Nagnidhura area when they separated from each other due to dense fog. Failing to locate them, Dhan Singh took help from local villagers. A team of villagers, including Mahendra Bangari, Dhan Singh, Tej Singh, Manoj Singh Negi and Kedar Singh Negi, joined hands to undertake the search and rescue work.

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The villagers managed to find the students. According to reports, Pradeep Sharma is suffering from hypothermia, while the condition of Rajesh Bora is stable. The duo will camp at Nagnidhura on Sunday. The search and rescue team of the district administration has reached Dhilam and the two research scholars are likely to be brought back by Monday.

Panchachuli is a group of five snow-capped Himalayan peaks located in Uttarakhand. Situated at a height of 6,334 to 6,904 metres from the sea level, Panchachuli is frequented by tourists, adventure lovers and nature enthusiasts.