An Indian mountaineer and two Nepali Sherpa guides have gone missing in an avalanche at 7,500 meters near Camp IV of Kanchanjunga West (8,505 meters), also known as Yalung Kang, on Monday.
Chhanda Gayen of West Bengal state of India and the two Sherpas – Pema Sherpa and Dawa Wangchu Sherpa — were attempting to climb Kanchanjunga West after successful summit of Kanchanjunga Main (8,585 meters) when the incident occurred, a press statement of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN), said quoting Mingma Sherpa, the owner of Seven Summits Treks that operated the expedition.
Deepak KC of mountaineering section at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has also confirmed the accident, according to the statement.
Chhanda is the first civilian women from West Bengal to reach the summit of Mt Everest – the tallest peak on earth.
“We sent chopper on Tuesday as well as on Wednesday to look for the missing. Unfortunately, the chopper couldn’t land due to bad weather,” Mingma said in the statement.
A team of officials from the West Bengal State government of India is coming to Nepal on Thursday to oversee rescue operations
“We will send chopper along with the Indian officials on Friday as well,” added Mingma.
Mingma, however, said the chances of rescuing the Indian climbers and Nepali Sherpas appear slim.
“According to Na Tashi Sherpa, who was part of the expedition team, the avalanche was so big that it would be difficult to recover the bodies leave alone finding them alive,” Mingma said in the statement.
Na Tashi is now at the Kanchanjunga Base Camp.
Earlier in April, 13 Sherpa workers were killed when an avalanche struck near Camp I of Mt Everest. Three others are still missing.