A Polish mountaineer died while being rescued on Thursday evening, three days after he went missing along with another climber in the Himalayas of Uttarkhand.
There is no trace of his companion so far even as a joint team of the army and the Uttarkashi based Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) scoured the snow-clad Mt Shivling since morning.
As per information received, two Polish mountaineers – L John and J Michael-- were trapped close to the summit at a height of 5,900 metre from the sea level after their rope got snapped on Tuesday.
Identity of the deceased could not be ascertained.
According to officials involved in the operation, a search team had managed to locate one of the two mountaineers inside a snow cave on Wednesday, a day after the duo went missing.
But when the survivor was being pulled over, he lost balance and fell down. “He was just around 300 meters away from us,” an official said. Further details are awaited.
“For around 72 hours he managed to survive in sub zero temperature and perhaps without food or water,” said an NIM official, Vishal Ranjan.
The contact with the Polish mountaineer was established earlier over the solar operated walky-talky he was carrying.
The duo were part of a five-member Polish group that started scaling the Mt Shivling, positioned at a 90 degree angle, on Sept 25.
Three members returned to the base camp on Tuesday and informed Polish embassy about the trapped mountaineers.
The embassy contacted the district administration on the same night seeking help, Uttarkashi Superintendent of Police Daddan Pal said.
The police and SDRF started search operation on Wednesday noon.
They could locate one survivor, but lacked expertise to carry out the rescue operation in the high altitude, prompting the administration to approach the army on Wednesday night.
The army launched a rescue operation on Thursday morning along with a team of NIM mountaineers, known for their proficiency in high altitude rescue operations, said Col Ajay Kothiyal, who was overseeing the operation.
Three mountaineers with medicines and rations, enough to last for the next 72 hours, were earlier airdropped at the advance camp to bring back the survivor, said Col Kothiyal.