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Four days after he went missing, body of Delhi trekker found in forest valley

Till now, police investigation has revealed that Farhan started his trek on the morning of May 20. He climbed the Duke’s Nose and was returning when he realised that he had lost his way.

The police are yet to ascertain how Farhan lost his life. (File)

THE BODY of 24-year-old mechanical engineer from Delhi, Farhan Serajuddin – who had gone missing while on a trek to Nagphani near Lonavala on May 20 – was located in a valley in the forest on Tuesday morning. Following an operation by various emergency response teams, including the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), the body was retrieved on Tuesday afternoon, said Pune Rural Police.

According to police, Farhan, who works for a robotics firm in Delhi, had come to Kolhapur last week for work and then travelled to Pune. Because of his passion for trekking, he came to Lonavala for a trek to the forest area around Nagphani area, also known as Duke’s Nose.
Police are yet to ascertain how Farhan fell into the valley. His body was initially identified on the basis of the clothes, and later by taking photos from a distance. Efforts were launched to retrieve the body.

Investigation has revealed that Farhan had started his trek on the morning of May 20. He climbed Duke’s Nose and was returning when he realised that he had lost his way.

In his last communication with a friend from Delhi on the afternoon of May 20, before he became untraceable, Farhan told the friend that he had lost his way in the forest.

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Farhan had even told his friend to start a search for him if he could not find a way out in a couple of hours after sending that message. Farhan’s phone had then become unreachable.

Inspector Sitaram Dubal, in-charge of Lonavala town police station, said, “His last text communications suggest that he was tired, thirsty and had run out of water. Based on where his body was located in the valley, we have reasons to believe that in an attempt to find a way out of the forest, Farhan may have walked along a dry stream. It is possible that he fell into the valley from a cliff while walking in his condition. He suffered multiple severe injuries due to the fall.”

An extensive search and rescue operation had been launched after Farhan’s family members approached Pune Rural police. The search parties consisted of local villagers, teams from Pune Rural Police and trekkers from search and rescue groups — Shivdurg Mitra from Lonavala and Yashwant Hikers from Khopoli. The police dog squad and drones were also pressed into action to locate the missing person, and his family members and friends had also joined the search operation. His family members had also announced a cash reward of Rs 1 lakh for any information on Farhan.

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Teams from INS Shivaji, Indian Navy’s training establishment located in Lonavala, had also joined the search and rescue operation and on Monday, the NDRF was also deployed.

NDRF official Inspector P S Rana, who was part of the search team, said, “The body could be located only after our rappellers descended the valley. It was around 1000 feet deep. It was not possible to bring the body up. So, we decided to descend further and take it to Chikhali village, located at the base of the valley. It was handed over to the family on Tuesday evening.”

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