Day after Uttarakhand avalanche, bodies of four navy personnel retrieved

Six people had gone missing after an avalanche hit their summit of Mt Trishul in Chamoli district on Friday morning.
The three-member NIM rescue team led by institute’s principal Col Amit Bisht left for the site of the incident on Friday. (HT Photo)
The three-member NIM rescue team led by institute’s principal Col Amit Bisht left for the site of the incident on Friday. (HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 03, 2021 01:42 AM IST
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ByKalyan Das, Dehradun

Dehradun: A day after six people, including five Indian Navy personnel, went missing after their summit of Mt Trishul was hit by an avalanche, a rescue team from the Uttarakashi-based Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) retrieved four bodies on Saturday.

“Mortal remains of four out of five missing Naval mountaineers -- Lt Cdr Rajnikant Yadav, Lt Cdr Yogesh Tiwari, Lt Cdr Anant Kukreti, Hari Om MCPO II -- were retrieved from Chamoli today (Saturday). Efforts continue to locate the fifth naval climber & one Sherpa,” the Indian Navy said in a statement.

The three-member NIM rescue team led by institute’s principal Col Amit Bisht left for the site of the incident on Friday after receiving information about the incident. On Saturday morning, they held the aerial inspection but rescue efforts were hit by inclement weather.

The six people had gone missing after an avalanche hit their summit of Mt Trishul in Chamoli district on Friday morning.

Earlier in the day, Col Bisht, who was stationed with the two other team members at a camp few kms from the spot, said, “On Friday, the team couldn’t commence the rescue operation due to bad weather. On Saturday morning, the weather condition didn’t improve but we carried an aerial inspection in a chopper during which four bodies were spotted lying in the snow.”

“The spot where the bodies were seen is at a high altitude. Plus, the weather was also not suitable to enable us to move towards the spot. Hence, we are waiting for the weather to improve so that we could leave for the spot to recover the bodies,” said Bisht.

Meanwhile, a team of experts from Indian Army’s High Altitude Warfare School (HAWS) in Gulmarg, Kashmir, will also join the rescue operation.

Registrar of NIM Vishal Ranjan said, “The team from HAWS specialises in high-altitude operations. Hence, they will soon be joining the rescue operation by reaching Uttarakhand.”

A team comprising six mountaineers of Uttarakhand state disaster response force (SDRF) has also been kept on standby at Dehradun’s Jolly Grant airport to assist in the rescue operations, if needed.

“We have kept the team on standby. However, as of now, the army and NIM are carrying the rescue operation. We have offered them our help but they it is not required by them,” said Riddhim Aggarwal, deputy inspector general, SDRF.

Mount Trishul is a group of three peaks that resembles a trident the weapon of Lord Shiva, in the western Kumaon Himalayas, 320 km from Dehradun. The expedition team had gone to scale the highest of the three peaks, Trishul-1 at 7,120m.

The incident happened around 5 am on Friday when the team left to scale the peak from camp-3. Among the six missing, one was a porter who was accompanying the naval expedition that had a total of 20 members and left for the summit from Mumbai on September 3. On Friday morning, 10 naval personnel along with the potter left to scale the peak. However, after reaching a height of 6.7km, they were hit by an avalanche in which the six went missing. Five naval personnel were rescued.

On September 24, an expedition of the Indian Army to scale Satopanth peak in Gangotri National Park found the body of a mountaineer, who was later identified as member of an army expedition team sent to scale the same peak in 2005, in which few mountaineers had gone missing.

Satopanth at 7,075m is the second highest peak in Gangotri National Park situated in the Garhwal Himalayas in the state.

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Saturday, December 04, 2021