Om Prakash, 60, and Pushpa Devi, 57, from Kishangarh town in Ajmer district in Rajasthan, got the news they had always feared around 3 p.m. on Monday. Their 34-year-old son, Anurag Maloo, who had climbed several peaks before, went missing in the mountains of Nepal, about 920 km away.
“He went climbing the top of Mt. Annapurna and was at Camp III. Because of his health, he was told to go down instead. “As he was going down, he slipped and fell in a crevasse between Camp III and Camp II,” his father, Om Prakash, told The Indian Express.
When Anurag’s younger brother Aashish, who is 29 years old, heard the news, he left Kishangarh on Monday night, went to New Delhi, and then flew to Kathmandu the next morning.
Aashish started an online plea for India’s Ambassador to the United States, Naveen Srivastava. He said, “My brother Anurag is the most passionate climber I know. Since I can remember, his dream has been to climb heights. Every time he went climbing, he made sure to bring the Indian flag with him so it could be raised on the highest hills in the world. His passion led him on a journey to climb all 14 peaks above 8,000 m and 7 summits to bring attention to the UN Sustainable Development Goals and get people to act on them.
“He tried to climb Mount Annapurna, the 10th highest mountain in the world, last week… In a bad turn of events, he fell from about 6,000 m while coming down from Camp III on April 17 and has been lost ever since. We’re really sad. The petition from Aashish says, “It feels like our worst nightmares have come true, but we can’t give up hope.”
Ambassador Naveen Srivastava refused to talk about the rescue attempts when asked about them.
In a letter to External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, Aashish said, “Despite individual overnight efforts to get the help needed to save him, no visible progress could be made.” He asked for more steps to be taken to ensure his return.
The family hopes that Anurag will come back miraculously like Baljeet Kaur, who reached the top of the mountain on Monday but got sick on the way down. She may have spent the night on the mountain before she was found.
In a social media post, Nepalese mountaineering and adventure company Pioneer Adventure said, “We are happy to report that Baljeet Kaur is safe at Annapurna Base Camp after being airlifted off the mountain. She will soon be flown back to Kathmandu for a medical checkup.”
The Himalayan Times said that, according to the organisers of the trip, “at least five climbers were taken off the high camps of Mt. Annapurna because they were sick.”
It said that in addition to Kaur, Pakistani climbers Shehroze Kashif, Naila Kiani, and Indian climber Arjun Vajpai were all taken to Kathmandu after getting sick while coming down from the summit. Nepal Army Captain Suman Panday was also taken to Kathmandu after getting snow blindness at Camp III.
Noel Hanna, an Irish climber who was 56 and had climbed Mount Everest 10 times, died on the way down from the top.
Om Prakash and Pushpa in Ajmer also hope Anurag makes it, even though it’s getting harder and harder to deal with every hour that goes by. “We don’t know anything about it. “The search would have stopped for the day since it’s almost dark,” Om Prakash said. “Helicopters and sherpas have been sent. We hope that drones will also be used to send out heat cameras so that they can find him.”
Anurag’s last conversation with his family was about 10 days ago, right before he started his trip. “He said he would be out of coverage area and would call us back when he got back in,” the father said.
Before getting his BTech at Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University, Anurag went to school in Ajmer and Kota.
According to his social media accounts, he has worked with many NGOs and organisations over the years, including Teach for India, Asian Youth Forum, Peace Revolution, Youth for Equality, and Indian Youth Climate Network.
He is the Head of Partnerships (Asia) at Seedstars, which says it is “working closely with his friends, family, and International SOS to coordinate search and rescue operations.”
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