Two members of the all-Burmese expedition that scaled Southeast Asia’s highest summit last week have been declared missing, according to an official from the Universities Hiking and Mountaineering Club which organised the climb.
The official, who asked not to be named, said that the six other mountaineers had reached the town of Tha-hong-tan at the foot of the mountain at 7pm on Tuesday, and are in good health.
He said that the missing men – team leader Aung Myint Myat, 32, and team manager Wai Yan Min Thu, 28 – were the only two who had reached the ice-capped peak on 31 August. The other six members waited behind for them, but lost contact with the pair on their descent due to what is assumed to be faulty communications equipment.
The official said that it is possible that Aung Myint Myat and Wai Yan Min Thu are still descending the mountain.
Helicopters have reportedly been deployed and other mountaineers were preparing to leave Rangoon on Wednesday to assist with the rescue effort. Adviser and sponsor Tay Za is also involved in the search, the mountaineering club said on its website.
Myo Thant, the Universities Hiking and Mountaineering Club chairman and spokesperson for the sponsors of the expedition, Nature’s Call, also left for the Kachin town of Putao in northernmost Burma on Wednesday.
The mountain is enveloped in a light rain but weather conditions are “not that bad”, said the official.
The Associated Press on Wednesday cited Myo Thant saying that five helicopters were to begin a search over Hkakabo Razi, part of the lower Himalayan range, which at 5,881m stands at the tri-border between Burma, China and India.
The six team members who have descended successfully are: Han Lyinn Tun, 26, medic; Maung Maung Pyae Sone, 22, logistics; Myo Nyunt Than, 43, logistics; Zay Yar Tun, 32, geologist; Kyaw Htoo Naing, 24, documentarian; and Zaw Zin Khine, 28, cook.