Massive search on for five navy climbers after avalanche hits expedition in Uttarakhand
The military on Friday launched a massive search and rescue operation to locate five members of an Indian Navy mountaineering expedition who were caught in an avalanche while attempting to climb Mount Trishul in the Uttarakhand Himalayas, navy officials familiar with the development said on Friday.
The five climbers went missing on Friday morning near the summit camp at Bageshwar in the Kumaon region, said one of the officials cited above.
“Search and rescue is being carried out by ground teams and helicopters from the army and the air force,” he said. The state disaster response force (SDRF) also joined the search operation in the mountains.
The 20-member naval expedition to Mount Trishul, located at a height of 7,120 metre, was flagged off from Mumbai on September 3.
“Ten climbers had started their approach on the final leg to the summit this (Friday) morning, but they were caught in an avalanche short of the summit. While 5 of the 10 climbers are safe, search and rescue of the remaining five is in progress,” the official said. The 15 remaining members of the expedition are also involved in the search and rescue operation.
Western Naval Command chief Vice Admiral R Hari Kumar flagged off the expedition from INS Trishul. The event is part of the ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh’ celebrations to commemorate 50 years of the victory in the 1971 war with Pakistan. The theme of the expedition is “Trishul Yudhpoat Se Trishul Parvat Tak” (from Trishul warship to Trishul Mountain).
“The team assembled at Mumbai on August 15 and underwent physical fitness sessions, endurance training and trekking practice at Bhimashankar (in Maharashtra) to hone its physical condition and technical skills,” the navy said in an earlier statement.