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Foot-based search for missing mountaineer called off: DC

“As the water level is dangerously increasing in Wapriyang Bung, foot-based SAR Op is called-off with immediate effect,” the DC informed.

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Itanagar: Even as the Arunachal Pradesh government along with the Indian Army pressed its men and machinery in the search and rescue operation for the ‘missing’ Everester Tapi Mra and his assistant Niku Dao, relentless rainfall continued to hinder the foot-based search operation, official sources said on Tuesday.

Arunachal’s first Everester Tapi Mra along with his companion went missing on August 17 while on an expedition to Mount Khyarisattam, one of the highest peaks in the East Kameng district.

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East Kameng Deputy Commissioner Pravimal Abhishek Polumatla said the foot-based search and rescue (SAR) operation continues to face challenges as persistent rain for the past few days has led to swelling of all rivers including Kameng, Kania, and Wapriyang Bung.

While citing the ‘heavy attrition rate’ among porters due to inclement weather and risky terrain beyond Veo village, he said even if the troops manage to cross Wapriyang Bung, it is extremely difficult to maintain supply chains or evacuate them in case of any emergency.

“As the water level is dangerously increasing in Wapriyang Bung, foot-based SAR Op is called-off with immediate effect,” the DC informed.

Polumatla said the strategy going forward is to focus fully on plan-A i.e. to conduct a helicopter-based SAR operation. “All preparations are in place for an effective and swift operation,” he added.

Defense sources said the four Army helicopters based SAR team continues to remain on standby at Seppa, the headquarters of East Kameng district.

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