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15 Jul 2018

Everester missing in Karakoram

Vivek Chhetri and Subhasish Chaudhuri, TT, Jul 15, 2018: Darjeeling/Krishnagar: Pemba Sherpa, 47, who had scaled Mount Everest eight times, disappeared on Thursday during an expedition to the Karakoram range of the Himalayas and is presumed to have fallen into a crevasse.

Sherpa, a resident of Ghoom in Darjeeling, was a climbing guide to a seven-member team from the Mountaineers' Association of Krishnagar, led by Everester Basanta Singha Roy.

Pemba's brother Tashi, who was part of the expedition but had returned from the base camp on July 3, said in Darjeeling on Saturday: "We got a call (from the expedition team) yesterday saying he had fallen into a crevasse and had not been found yet."

He said the team was descending after scaling the Saser Kangri peak (7,672m) in Jammu and Kashmir. The team had left Krishnagar on June 20.

Arup Sarkar, mountaineer and member of the association but not part of the expedition, said from Krishnagar that the organisation was "worried" for Pemba, who "had been with us in earlier expeditions too".

"The team scaled the summit early on Thursday morning. While returning to a lower camp in the afternoon, Pemba disappeared," Sarkar said.

"The other team members searched for him but could not find him. All they could gather was that he may have slipped into a crevasse. I spoke with Singha Roy on Friday, who gave me the details."

Sarkar said the team was "in touch with the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and other authorities and searches are being conducted, but we have not received any information".

Pemba's mother, wife, two daughters aged 18 and 14 and 11-year-old son are hoping for good news. Buddhist monks have gathered at the family's home in Ghoom for prayers.

All seven members of the Krishnagar team are safe and were at the base camp on Saturday evening.

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