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Three missing in Kanchanjunga avalanche

May 22 , 2014

Three missing in Kanchanjunga avalanche

An Indian mountaineer and two Nepali Sherpa guides have gone missing when an avalanche struck their expedition at 7,500 meters near Camp IV of Kanchanjunga West, also known as Yalung Kang, on Monday.

Chanda 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 when the incident occurred, according to Mingma Sherpa, the owner of Seven Summits Trek that operated the expedition.

Deepak KC of mountaineering section at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has confirmed the accident.

“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.

A team of officials from the West Bengal State government of India is coming to Nepal on Thursday to oversee rescue operations, according to Mingma.

“We will send chopper along with the Indian officials on Friday as well,” he added.

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,” said Mingma.

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.