Renowned mountaineer Chhanda Gayen and two of her accompanying sherpas, who were attempting to scale the 8,505-metre-high Kanchenjunga West, known as Yalung Kang in Nepal, are reported to be missing.
Gayen, best known for being the first civilian women from West Bengal to scale Mount Everest, went missing Tuesday after being caught in an avalanche, as per the information received here.
She annexed the 8,585-metre high Kanchenjunga Main, the third tallest peak, on May 18 along with three other climbers from Kolkata —- Tusi Das, Dipankar Ghosh and Rajib Bhattacharjee.
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According to reports available, Tusi, Rajiv and Dipankar decided to return to the base camp after the summit while Chhanda along with two sherpas — Dawa Wangchu and Mingma Temba — went on to climb the nearby Yalung Kang, also known as Kanchenjunga West.
While Dawa is from Darjeeling, Mingma hails from Nepal. Pasang Futar, a veteran sherpa who lives in the same area where Dawa stays, said, “We received information from Kathmandu today that Dawa and Pemba along with Chhanda are missing after being caught in an avalanche beyond the Camp Three area while coming down from the summit of Kanchenjunga West on Tuesday”.
Dawa said, “I don’t know about the exact height, but it is beyond Camp Three, which is common for both Kanchenjunga Main and Kanchenjunga West peaks. About chances of survival, it is very difficult to say anything right now”.
Chhanda had scaled the Mount Everest and Lohtse, the highest and fourth highest mountain in the world respectively, last year.
Meanwhile, the West Bengal Government announced all necessary help to the climbers. Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee Wednesday got in touch with the Nepal government as well the Ministry of External Affairs seeking their help in tracing out Chhanda.
“We have sent a team of two mountaineers —- Ujjal Roy and Devdas Nandi —- to find out how she can be rescued. We will also see to it that the three other members of the team, Dipankar, Rajib and Tusi came back home safely,” minister for youth affairs Arup Biswas said at Nabanna.
The Nepalese government have already launched a helicopter search for the missing climbers, sources said here.
(with inputs from PTI)