At least two trekkers were killed and one hurt during an accident at the popular trekking site, Hadbichi Shendi hillock near Manmad, officials said here on Thursday.
According to delayed reports, the incident occurred on Wednesday evening around 6.30 p.m. when the 17-member troupe of the Indraprastha Trekkers – a professional group from adjoining Ahmednagar – were in the final stages of the descent after completing the gruelling climbing trip.
The base hill is around 400 feet tall, with the Hadbichi Shendi – or Thumbs Up Pinnacle – rising a sheer vertical height of some 200 feet, making it a difficult climb even for veteran climbers, according to locals.
“For unknown reasons, two of the persons – Anil Shivaji Wagh, 35 and Mayur Dattatreya Mhaske, 22 – suddenly fell from somewhere near the top of the Thumbs Up Pinnacle, while attempting to remove the bouldering ropes,” a friend and professional climber Vaibhav Lotake told IANS.
Both Wagh and Mhaske fell to their death and succumbed instantly, even as their horror-stricken 15 co-climbers, including eight girls, watched helplessly from below the hill.
Another person, Pravin Pawar sustained minor injuries when he rushed up to help the duo and is said to be fine now.
Late last night, with the help of local villagers, the bodies of Wagh and Mhaske were brought down and shifted to a Manmad hospital for autopsy.
On Thursday morning, the mortal remains were handed over to their stunned families for the last rites to be performed in their village in Ahmednagar this evening, Lotake said.
This is stated to be the first accident of its kind reported at Hadbichi Shendi, which is a popular all-year trekking destination by adventurers from all over India, said Lotake, who has scaled it a couple of times.