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Bad weather hampers Bengal's mountaineer's rescue

Posted on May 23 2014 | IANS

Kolkata, May 23 : Bad weather conditions Friday hampered efforts to rescue missing West Bengal mountaineer Chhanda Gayen, an official said.

The 35-year-old ace mountaineer Gayen has been missing since Tuesday after she was caught in an avalanche on the Kanchenjunga peak. Gayen is the second civilian woman from West Bengal to scale Mount Everest.

"The rescue efforts could not be launched today (Friday) due to bad weather," Col. Gulshan, principal, Himalayan Mountaineering Institute (HMI) (Darjeeling), told IANS. The official was in touch with the Nepal authorities helping the rescue operation.

"It is very difficult to say what actually happened but possibly she was trapped in an avalanche," the official said.

Gayen and two of her sherpas went missing after being caught in an avalanche while scaling the Kanchenjunga, the world's third highest mountain peak.

The Bengal government dispatched a three-member team to Nepal to assist the rescue operation. It is in touch with the ministry of external affairs, as well as the HMI officials.

The Indian climber Monday scaled the Kanchenjunga with two sherpa guides.

Three other climbers, Dipankar Ghosh, Tusi Das and Rajib Bhattacharya accompanied the woman mountaineer on the expedition.

However, the three returned to the base camp whereas Gayen, who hails from Bengal's Howrah district, ventured on to the western side of the mountain.

Gayen's family has expressed dissatisfaction over the rescue efforts and Friday appealed to state Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee to dispatch a second team.

Gayen's mother said the family does not have faith in the three-member rescue team that was sent earlier.

"They are not so brave...the rescue process is delayed. We do not have faith in the team. We want a different team. They keep on saying that the weather is bad but we can see it is not," she said.

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