ITANAGAR- The whereabouts of Tapi Mra, the first Everester from Arunachal Pradesh, and his associate Niku Dao, who went missing about a month ago during an expedition to the yet unscaled Mount Khyarisattam in the state, are still unknown.
The two mountaineers had gone missing on August 17 after setting out with seven porters for the expedition on July 27 from Sario-Saria, a village in Sawa circle of East Kameng district.
Nine soldiers and three local mountaineers have now been engaged in the land search for the two mountaineers. A team has already surveyed the first base camp and is on its way to the second one, he said on Wednesday.
“Even if we can’t locate the duo, the search team will look into other aspects of their survival. No stone will remain unturned to ensure their safe return,” the minister told reporters after a meeting with East Kameng district deputy commissioner P A Polumatla at Seppa.
The meeting was held to review the search and rescue operation for the famed mountaineer and his associate.
State Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Mama Natung said to PTI the two mountaineers could not be located by the Army during its aerial search in the area.
“Mra is a renowned mountaineer and the pride of our state…we are concerned about his whereabouts and hope the combined efforts of the district administration, the Indian Army and locals bear fruit,” Natung said.
He said that Mra had approached the sports department on the expedition but was advised to avoid summiting during the particular time due to the bad weather. The mountaineer did not, however, inform the East Kameng district administration about his expedition to the Mount Khyarisattam.
“We are not blaming anyone or making excuses for the official procedure not having been followed,” Natung added.
Mount Khyarisattam is considered sacred by the people of the district.
Nokhya Yakli, a porter from Yakli village who had accompanied Mra in the expedition, had told the media that that the Everester and his associate had started onward from the first base camp on August 17. They were accompanied by porters Dangbing Saria and Adam Wallong up to the second base camp with supplies.
Mra and Dao had, however, been forced to return to the second base camp after their first attempt failed and they later proceeded to climb the peak from the eastern side. The two had very little ration in their possession and carried an oxygen cylinder each, Yakli had said.
They were in touch with the porters at the first base camp one for the next three days through their walkie-talkie. The contact was lost afterwards.
The district administration along with Army personnel and locals launched a search operation for the two immediately after being informed by the porters.
Mra, who belongs to the state’s Tagin tribe, is the first person from Arunachal Pradesh to climb Mount Everest. He had scaled the Everest in 2009.
The mountaineer had climbed the Imja Tse, commonly known as Island Peak in Nepal in 2007. He had also made successful expeditions to Mera Peak in Nepal, Uhuru Peak in Tanzania, and Mount Kosciuszko in Australia. (Source- PTI )