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American tourist dies while trekking to Sandakphu-Phalut

Three tourists from Bengal died due to high altitude sickness in Sikkim since April 15.

kolkata Updated: Apr 26, 2017 14:42 IST
American Tourist,Darjeeling,Sandakphu Phalut
The beauty of the Himalayas attracts thousands of tourists every year from home and abroad to the dangerous trekking routes in Darjeeling and Sikkim.(HT Photo)

Glenn Bernard Conway, 67, an American tourist died while trekking to the famous Sandakphu-Phalut route in Darjeeling district of West Bengal on Tuesday. High altitude sickness is believed to be the cause of his death.

The last time an US national died here in Darjeeling district was in September 2015. Ruben Lamar Fox (22) from Pennsylvania died after he fell from a cliff near Ganesh Jhora, 21 kms from Siliguri.

Read: Two Europeans, two Asians killed during trekking in Himalayas

Conway was a resident of South Hadley city in Massachusetts. He belonged to a group of 19 US nationals who started trekking from Maneybhanjyang, 21 km from Darjeeling town. They were accompanied by Dipesh Tamang, a local guide. Conway reached Delhi on April 18.

The area where Conway died is accessible only on foot, and does not have any mobile phone connection. (HT Photo)

Molley, the place where Conway died can be assessed only on foot and there is no phone connection and mobile phone network.

Dharam Deo Rai, divisional forest officer, Darjeeling wild life division told Hindustan Times that personnel from Lodhama police out post and Singalila forest range reached the spot on Tuesday evening to bring down the body for postmortem.

There are speculations that he could have also died of heart attack.

The Sandakphu and Phalut trekking routes fall under Singalila National Park. Sandakphu at an altitude of 11,229 ft is the highest point of Singalila ridge while Phalut located 21 km away from Sandakphu (11,811 ft) is the second highest peak of West Bengal.

As many as three tourists, all from India, died while trekking in Sikkim in a span of six days from April 15, 2017. (HT Photo)

Every year hundreds of tourists from home and abroad trek to these routes, and some of them suffer from high altitude sickness.

Read: Israeli trekker dies after falling into gorge during Uttarakhand mountain expedition

“The reason of death could be ascertained only after the post mortem. Though some tourists, mostly elderly, fall sick while trekking to the Sandakphu-Phalut route, this is the first death this year. Last year one Indian tourist died,” said Amit P Javalgi, Darjeeling police super.

In neighbouring Sikkim where there are several famous trekking routes, three tourists from West Bengal died due to high altitude sickness in a span of six days from April 15.

On April 15, Tapas Kumar Das, 42, died while trekking to famous Singalila trek route from Uttarey in West Sikkim. On April 17, Bir Mondal, 34, died after reporting breathing problems on way to Baba Mandir near Nathu La (Indo-China border) and on April 20 a 59-year old Kolkata resident passed away at Lachung in North Sikkim.

First Published: Apr 26, 2017 14:42 IST