Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) DG, SS Deswal
Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) DG, SS Deswal

ITBP to raise high altitude rescue teams in 5 states, says DG SS Deswal

ANI | Updated: Jul 09, 2019 05:59 IST

New Delhi [India], July 9 (ANI): Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) DG, SS Deswal felicitated the 11-member team of ITBP mountaineers who conducted the search and retrieval operation the bodies of seven mountaineers from an altitude of 20,000 ft near Nanda Devi East in Pithoragarh, Uttarakhand.
The DG said that the force is in the process of raising five high altitude rescue teams comprising of mountaineers of the force in 5 states- Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh.
The team was led by Ratan Singh Sonal, second in command. The other members were Anoop Negi, Hemant Goswami, Pradeep Panwar, Kalam Singh, Kapil Dev, Bharat Lal, Jaiprakash Singh, Sanjay Singh, Surendra Singh and administrative support staff - Dheerendra Pratap, Devendra Singh, Manjeet Singh and Bhagyashali Meena, according to a statement.
The operation was conducted under direct supervision of APS Nimbadia, DIG, SHQ, ITBP Bareilly.
Deswal congratulated the team and said that the force is proud of them, the statement added.
Speaking to the media, Deswal said that the operation was conducted in most difficult, inhospitable and trying conditions. He also shared that the force is the first responder in such situations in the Himalayas.
On May 30, the District Administration Pithoragarh got a SOS call. ITBP was requested to search for eight mountaineers who were reported missing since May 26 while attempting a summit on an unnamed peak near Nanda Devi East.
In the rescue efforts, four mountaineers (British) were airlifted from Nanda Devi base camp on June 2, who were part of the 12 member team and been taken to 14th Battalion ITBP.
After this, ITBP with the help of District Administration, Pithoragarh started the search operation from June 14 onwards by establishing base camps.
Deswal, DG ITBP briefed the ITBP team in Pithoragarh before the launch of this high-risk mission on June 11. The ITBP had launched search operation on June 14 from Pithoragarh to search these missing mountaineers in which four were British, two were Americans, and one each from Australia and India.
The ITBP team reached the site through technical climbing in hostile terrain conditions, snow accumulation and wind conditions and retrieved seven dead bodies on June 23. Due to terrain, altitude and weather limitations, the eighth person was not found.
On July 1, ITBP mountaineers with more than 11 hours of efforts, managed to take four bodies to the highest point of the ridge (18,800 ft) from where they could be taken further to Base Camp 1 Helipad (15,250 ft). Remaining three bodies were carried the next day to the same point first.
All bodies were taken to Base Camp 1 temporary Helipad on the evening of July 2. In this effort, ascending and descending was highly technical and risky but executed successfully by the mountaineers.
Bodies were further airlifted to Munsyari and further to Pithoragarh on July 3 with the help of Indian Air Force.
The operation took time as ITBP mountaineers took all precautions with best mountaineering skills and tried to take utmost care while carrying the bodies with due dignity and honour to the dead.
ITBP's mission- 'Daredevils' ended after dead bodies handed over to the District Administration Pithoragarh on Monday. (ANI)