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Efforts on to retrieve body of mountaineer who died after scaling Mt Everest

Sonipat DC confirms death of Sonipat resident who climbed Everest; family hopes for a ‘rescue’

gurgaon Updated: May 20, 2019 10:47 IST
Leena Dhankhar
Leena Dhankhar
Hindustan Times, Gurugram
Mount Everest,Sonipat,Mingma Sherpa
Family members of Ravi Thakur who died on May 17 while returning after scaling Mount Everest, at their residence, at Tara Nagar, in Sonipat, Haryana(HTPhotos)

It has been a tragic end for 27-year-old Ravi Thakur, a mountaineering enthusiast, who, on May 17, successfully scaled the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, but died on his way back. A resident of Sonipat in Haryana, located 40 kilometres from the national Capital, the young man wanted to make his country proud with his achievement, his friends said.

Dr Shaleen Rohilla, the deputy commissioner of Sonipat, said confirmation of Thakur’s death has been received from the Indian embassy in Kathmandu, Nepal.

“We received information that a Tara Nagar resident, of Sonipat, has been declared dead and along with it, we received an invoice of US$44,000 for his evacuation. We have sent the recommendation to the state government to take an appropriate decision regarding the same. Once we receive the reply from the state government, the same will be conveyed to the family members,” he said.

Mingma Sherpa, chairman of the Seven Summit Treks, which organised the Everest and Makalu expeditions, had told HT that Thakur died at Camp IV, around 10pm, after returning from the Everest summit.

Thakur’s family received an invoice on May 18, from Seven Summit Treks Pvt Ltd, asking for a transfer of $44,000 for helicopter evacuation, search and rescue of Thakur. They sent a break up of the cost involved at each camp for the rescue
operation.

Sorrowed but still not believing him dead, his family and relatives are hoping that he can be evacuated and revived with medical aid. The house was full of friends and relatives, who have been visiting since they heard the news.

Six childhood friends of Thakur are camping at his residence to ensure his parents do not get to know about his death. Meanwhile, they have disconnected the television cable to ensure that his parents, who are heart patients, do not access the news. They have also asked the newspaper delivery boy to suspend deliveries until informed otherwise.

Those present at the house said they remember Thakur as a compassionate person, who dedicated his life to his friends and family.

“He wanted to make the country proud and after failing repeated attempts to join the army, he thought of scaling the Everest to earn that glory. He wanted to reach the summit and unfurl the Indian flag at the top of the world’s tallest mountain,” said Mamta Rani, Thakur’s mother.

She said that they are looking for a bride for Thakur and plan to get him married this year. Rani was inconsolable with anxiety and pleaded with those present in the house to help them locate her son.

“My son used to address me as ‘Aaa ree ma, ke kar rahe se’ (Hi mother, what are you doing?). He was very affectionate, would come and hug me and rest on my lap. He used to talk to me of his dreams and aspirations,” she said.

She also remembered how he would drink up many cups of black coffee and she would tease him saying “Yeh kya kala paani peeraha hai (What black water are you drinking?).”

Thakur was a software developer and had joined his first job, five years ago, in Gurugram. After failing to join the army, he joined an engineering college in Sonipat and saved for his mountaineering courses.

Family members, who are still unaware of his death, are requesting the authorities to evacuate him at the earliest so that he can get medical attention.

His father, Mahesh S Thakur (57), a telecom mechanic with BSNL in Sonipat, is not leaving any stone unturned to get his son back. He has made more than a hundred calls to officials and local politicians pleading for help, but to no avail.

“Ravi wanted to set up an NGO for children interested in sports in Haryana. He believed that the state had a lot of talent but not enough institutions and organisations to help these children channelise their potential and excel in sports. He also wanted to help talented children who could not avail of sports facilities due to lack of financial resources,” he said.

Ravi’s father said that he feels helpless as he does not even have the money to rescue his son. After spending on his children’s education, he is left with no money and was counting on Ravi for further expenses.

Parush Chugh, one of Ravi’s childhood friends, said he had taken an insurance policy before leaving and was covered for evacuation as well, but they are making excuses that they can only retrieve the body once it reaches base Camp II, which would take another 10 days. “They have raised an invoice for six high-altitude sherpas, a helicopter from Lukla to Kathmandu, 12 bottles of oxygen, six sets of mask and a regulator. The government should at least bear this expense and help the family in the time of crisis,” he said.

The Embassy of India in Kathmandu, Nepal, has emailed to the Haryana government that Seven Summit Treks Pvt Ltd was contacted for retrieving the body of Ravi Thakur of Sonipat in Haryana, India.

“This mission has received several calls from family members and correspondence from ministry forwarding request for assistance to recover the body of the deceased. It was informed that the body of Ravi is at camp 4 of Mt Everest. On assurance of payment made by the mission, Seven Summit has agreed to start search and rescue operation from tomorrow (May 18). The search will take approximately 4 days. If successful, the body will be brought to camp 2 on approx. May 22, 2019. Thereafter, the body will be airlifted to Kathmandu [sic],” stated the mail, a copy of which is with HT.

Despite repeated calls and messages, Manohar Lal Khattar, the chief minister of

First Published: May 20, 2019 05:33 IST