Govt needs Plan B to find missing mountaineers

The report of the East Kameng district administration deciding to call off the foot-based search & rescue (S&R) operation for Everester Tapi Mra and his assistant Niku Dao has been met with deep sadness by the people of the state. They have cited extreme weather conditions for calling off the mission. Everyone knows that it must have been a tough decision. Mra and Dao have been missing since 17 August in Mt Khyari Satam. They were attempting to climb the revered mountain.
The helicopter search & rescue operation has also failed to yield any result till now. On Thursday, two Cheetah army helicopters took off from Seppa, but due to poor visibility and heavy rain, they could not fly beyond Saria village and had to return to Seppa. The family members of Mra and Dao must be going through a very difficult time. The state government should extend all possible support to them. Now that the search and rescue operation – both foot-based and aerial – are not yielding any results, one wonders whether the operation could have been planned much better by involving experts from outside the state. Experts in such field from Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and Uttarakhand, where incidents of mountaineers going missing during expeditions is common, should have been roped in. Still, there is time. The government should develop a Plan B and try to give a conclusion to both families. At least the families have the right to know the exact status of Tapi Mra and his assistant Niku Dao.