Missing mountaineers: bad weather stalls rescue effort

Missing mountaineers: bad weather stalls rescue effort

A Chinese mountain rescue team brought in to search for two missing Burmese mountaineers on Hkakabo Razi has delayed the mission due to inclement weather.

The Blue Sky rescue team arrived on Saturday, 13 September, at the Kachin town of Putao, the setting off spot for scaling the 5,881m peak, which is Southeast Asia’s highest.

But following discussions with the Burmese rescue effort, the mission has been postponed until rainy conditions on the Himalayan mountain subside.

“We need to discuss how the work should be pursued,” said a member of the Burmese rescue team. “Some difficulties currently exist. They [Blue Sky] thought they could head directly to the base of the Hkakabo Razi, but the weather conditions do not allow it.”

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According to postings on social media by the Htoo Foundation, one of the main sponsors of the mountaineering mission, a preliminary search for Aung Myint Myat and Wai Yan Min Thu was already undertaken by teams in an aircraft provided by the Htoo Foundation and two helicopters from the Burmese air force.

Eight climbers from the Rangoon University Hiking and Mountaineering Club set off from Putao on 31 July to scale Hkakabo Razi. Team leaders Aung Myint Myat and Wai Yan Min Thu were the only two to reach the peak, recorded on their GPS at 5:01pm on 31 August. However, either a technical problem with their satellite phone or a lack of battery power caused a cut in contact with the main party. The two have not been heard from since.

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