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Three helicopters have joined the search for the team leader and manger of an eight-member mountain climbing-team who disappeared 11 days ago after reaching the summit of Myanmar’s highest mountain, according to a Putao district administrator.
The search team now involves ground and aerial rescue teams, as well as local residents with expert knowledge of the terrain on Khaka Borazi Mountain in northern Kachin State.
The air rescue team includes on M 17 helicopter from the military and two civilian copters, searching for the two men in the eight-person expedition who failed to return to base camp.
“Both reached the summit at around 4.20pm on August 31. They planted the national flag and took photos. They kept in constant contact with the other six members by walkie-talkie and sang the national anthem at 5pm,” said an information officer from Thabawa Khawthan (Nature’s Call) Foundation, which is participating in the search for the two men. “Then, they said that their communication device’s battery was weak and they lost contact.”
The climb marks the first-ever ascent of Myanmar’s highest mountain by a squad of Myanmar mountaineers.
“The rescue team is led by Naung Maw Township administrator. Three rescue teams with provisions for three weeks started their mission today. Chairman of University Mountaineering Team Myo Thant and Tay Za of Htoo Foundation are also taking part in the rescue operation. Six members from the mountaineering team are now at Tan Phon village,” said Htun Ngwe administrator of Putao district, Kachin State.
There are five to six people on each ground rescue team and they will search all the way to the peak of Khaka Borazi Mountain.
Before beginning their climb, the expedition team held a press briefing saying that the area for hoisting the Myanmar flag was so narrow that only two members of the team would ascend to the top. The team agreed to meet at the base camp at the foot of the hill on September 9, but the pair who hoisted flag failed to return. Their team members thought they got lost on their return from the summit.
Relatives of the two lost men – team leader Aung Myint Myat and the team manager Wai Yan Min Thu – are also accompanying the rescue teams from the Htoo Foundation and Thabawa Khawthan Foundation via a chartered flight.
The six members of the expedition who returned to base camp have joined the search for their colleagues. cr. eleven media-photo credit u tay za