Baljeet Kaur, a 27-year-old leading Indian woman mountaineer, who went missing near Camp IV of Mt Annapurna while descending from the summit point, was air-lifted to the base camp, an official of the expedition organiser said on Tuesday (April 18).
She was earlier reported to be alive after an aerial search team located her above Camp IV, Chairman at Pioneer Adventure Pasang Sherpa, was quoted as saying by The Himalayan Times newspaper. Kaur scaled the world’s 10th highest peak without using supplemental oxygen on Monday.
“We are thrilled to share that after being air-lifted from the mountain, Baljeet Kaur has safely arrived at Annapurna base camp and will soon be flown back to Kathmandu for medical examination,” Pioneer Adventure issued a statement.
“Baljeet’s accomplishment is truly remarkable, and we can’t help but admire her courage, strength and determination. Her extensive training, skills and preparation have played an instrumental role in overcoming this daunting incident. We applaud her outstanding achievement and commend her for being an inspiration for all of us. We wish Baljeet a swift and complete recovery,” it added.
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Earlier, Pasang Sherpa had said they were preparing to conduct a long-line rescue to airlift Kaur. She was seen descending alone towards Camp IV by the aerial search team, according to Sherpa. After being left alone below the summit point, Kaur had remained out of radio contact till this morning, the report added.
An aerial search mission was initiated on Tuesday morning only after she managed to send a radio signal asking for “immediate help”. At least three helicopters were mobilised to trace her.
According to Sherpa, her GPS location has indicated an altitude of 7,375m (24,193ft). She climbed Mt Annapurna along with two Sherpa guides around 5.15 pm on Monday. But she went missing above Camp IV while descending from the top after scaling the peak without using supplemental oxygen.
Tragedy with another Indian climber
A day earlier, another Indian climber, Anurag Malu, died after falling from 6,000 meters into a crevasse. On Monday, Malu, from Kishangadh in Rajasthan, met with the tragedy while descending from Camp III, according to news reports.
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According to Mingma Sherpa, chairman at Seven Summit Treks, Noel Hanna, the first person from Ireland to reach the K2 summit during the winter season, breathed his last in Camp IV last night. Efforts are on to bring their bodies back to the base camp, the organisers said.
Annapurna is the 10th highest mountain in the world, standing at 8,091 metres above sea level. It is well known for the difficulties and dangers involved in its ascent.
In May last year, Kaur, from Himachal Pradesh, scaled Mt Lhotse and became the first Indian climber to have climbed four 8,000-metre peaks in a single season.
(With agency inputs)