Nepal Army helicopter deployed to search for missing trekkers in Annapurna region

Kathmandu, , NepalUpdated: Jan 21, 2020, 01:17 PM IST

Representative image Photograph:(Zee News Network)

Story highlights

Seven people missing since Friday morning; Nepal army to assist search and rescue operations in avalanche-hit Annapurna region.

Nepal Army on Monday deployed a helicopter to assist search and rescue operations in the avalanche hit Annapurna region from where seven people had gone missing since Friday morning.

Department of Tourism Official Mira Acharya confirmed that the Nepal Army has deployed its helicopter from Pokhara to search and rescue missing four Koreans and three Nepali near the Annapurna Base Camp.

[ Representative Image (Courtesy: ANI) ]

"Today from 7 in the morning, a team comprising Nepal Army's Rescue Team, Tourism Department, Nepal Mountaineering Association, Himalayan Rescue Association, TAAN-Kathmandu's Representatives flew to Pokhara from Kathmandu then flew to the site of the incident.

Upon reaching there we tried three to four times to take our team onto the ground and make attempt to search the missing ones but it was not possible. There was continuous and heavy snowfall and the area which was at first hit by an avalanche is continuously hit by snow slides because of which our team was not able to work on the search operation," Acharya, Director of Mountaineering, Hotel and Monitoring Section of Department of Tourism, Nepal stated.

A total of nine Army officials were present in the group that went to the avalanche area on Monday. "In the course of this time South Korean Ambassador, concerned Chief District Officers and other officials were present there for the observation and site-seeing of the area as well as effort. Our team has flown back for today and we are under consultation about the steps that are to be undertaken," Acharya further added.

After the recommendation from the Department of Tourism's emergency rescue meeting of Sunday the Tourism, Culture and Civil Aviation Ministry had requested the Nepal Army to help in the search and rescue operation.

Despite the ongoing effort to locate and rescue the missing personnel from one of the most famed trekking routes in the Himalayan Nation, no progress has been made so far. Frequent avalanches in the area of the incident have been creating a problem in the search and rescue operation for the missing trekkers.

"We have requested (Nepal) Army's helicopter and was sent there (Pokhara) from here (Kathmandu). Along with the helicopter, Army's High Altitude Rescue and a search team were sent over to the field in that helicopter. The team was well equipped with a search and rescue device. But we couldn't carry on our work there; we have to return because of the weather condition. We are working on over how we can work over it," Department of Tourism Official Mira Acharya said.

An area that lies between Annapurna village council-11 Himalaya and Deurali of Kaski district was hit by an avalanche on Friday afternoon after heavy snowfall in the area which has left seven people missing.

A total of five choppers now has been deployed on to search and locate the missing ones they only can take a round of presumed area from where trekkers are supposed to be missing.

A search team deployed on Friday to take the tool on foot to the area of the incident on Sunday reached the area but could not find any clue about whereabouts of the missing personnel. The avalanche hit the area between Deurali and Macchapuchre Base Camp lying between 3200- 3700 meters above the sea level.