Published: Monday, May 27, 2013

INCLEMENT WEATHER

Sherpas suspend search for Sajal’s body

Sajal Khaled. Photo: Facebook

Failing to locate the body of mountaineer Sajal Khaled over the last two days, the Sherpas climbed down from the base camp-4 to base camp-2 Monday morning due to inclement weather.

A group of 12 Sherpas searched for Sajal’s body Sunday night and Monday morning. They climbed up to the peak and went to the south summit, but have not found the body, an official of Bangladesh embassy in Nepal said.

“Sherpas found one of Khaled’s bags in the death zone, which is 700 metres down the peak of the Everest,” Shamima Chowdhury, first secretary (consular) of Bangladesh embassy, told The Daily Star over phone Monday.

Khaled, 35, met a tragic death while descending after conquering the Mount Everest on May 20, sending shockwaves to his family, colleagues and the countrymen.

He got to the peak between 10:00am and 11:00am on the day.

How died could not be known yet.

Under the Bangladesh embassy’s arrangement, Sherpas started from the base camp on Saturday to bring back the body from the South Summit, around 28,000 feet above sea level, where mountaineer Khaled died.

The embassy expressed hope that the team would be able to bring back Khaled’s body by May 30 or 31 to Kathmandu.

But hope seems fading now.

Shamima Chowdhury said the weather in the mountain was extremely bad with thick snow falling over the last three days. Khaled’s body might have been covered under the snow, she noted.

Though the climbing season officially ends on May 31, the Nepalese government has permitted the Sherpas to continue search for the Bangladesh climber’s body till June 5, she added.

Three officials of Bangladesh embassy are now stationed at a base camp of the mountain, Shamima said, adding: “We are continuously contacting various summit groups. Nepal’s tourism ministry is also doing the same for us.”

If the Sherpas fail to locate Sajal’s body by June 5, they would make attempts in the next climbing season, which starts in February next year, Shamima said.

Bangladesh government decided to bear the cost of repatriation of Sajal’s body from Nepal.