No trace of eight missing trekkers in Himachal

Shimla, March 12 (IANS) Two days after eight trackers went missing on their way to Chanderkhani peak in Himachal Pradesh, a helicopter was deployed on Saturday to locate them, an official said.

The rescue team sent earlier failed to locate them as it was snowing there, the official said, adding the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) is expected to join the efforts.

“One chopper was deployed this (Saturday) morning to locate them but failed to reach the peak as it was too foggy and there was continuous snowfall,” an official, who is monitoring the rescue operation, told IANS over the phone.

Eight trekkers, mostly students from a private engineering college in Punjab’s Sangrur town, were on their way to Chanderkhani peak in the Kullu region.

Revenue Minister Kaul Singh said here the deputy commissioner concerned has been asked to summon the NDRF to start the rescue operation. “The NDRF is likely to be deployed tomorrow (Sunday).”

The missing people, including a resident, left for trekking on Thursday from Naggar near Manali. One of them established contact with the police and sought help.

Beyond the Chanderkhani peak at an elevation of 3,600 metres lies Malana village, which earned notoriety for cultivating Malana Cream, a prized hashish.

An official of the state-run Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports in Manali told IANS that it was very challenging to locate the trekkers without the chopper as most of the area was devoid of human activity.

He said trekkers, comprising police parties and members of the institute, managed to reach the Chanderkhani peak but there was no trace of the missing people.

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