Ace mountaineer Malli Mastan Babu, missing since March 24 while on a solo expedition in the Andes, has been found dead in Argentina.
His death was announced on the “Rescue Malli Mustan Babu” page set up on Facebook by his friends and well-wishers. “Mountains retained its favourite child..R.I.P. Malli Mastan Babu,” said a message posted on the page early on Saturday.
The 40-year-old from Andhra Pradesh had become the world’s "fastest seven summiteer" in 2006 by climbing seven peaks on seven days of the week in each calendar month over a period of 172 days.
He went missing while attempting to climb a mountain along the Argentina-Chile border from the base camp of Cerro Tres Cruces.
A massive rescue operation was mounted after he did not return to the base camp on March 25 as scheduled.
The search and rescue operation, however, proceeded at a slow pace because of bad weather. Private and government helicopters scouted the area.
“Mastan embraced South America as his own in his last 4 years. He learned Spanish to be able to move in South American countries and he really enjoyed the Andes and its vast set of challenges,” said another message posted on the Facebook page.
Saurabh Uboweja, who has been acting as a spokesperson for Babu’s family, said the mountaineer was single and had close to 10 to 12 years of experience of climbing.