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Base camp loses contact with Burmese mountaineers

Hkakabo Razi (PHOTO: Myanmar Hiking & Mountaineering Federation)

Sponsors of the Burmese mountaineering team, which on Sunday conquered Hkakabo Razi, have lost communication with the expeditioners who are still on the icy Himalayan mountain in northern Kachin State.

Pa PaSoe, the information officer of the Thabawa Khawthan (Nature’s Call) Foundation, which has sponsored the historic hike to the summit of Southeast Asia’s highest peak, confirmed that the foundation has had no contact with the eight-man team since they scaled the 5,881m (19,295ft) mountain on 31 August.

He maintained that there is no reason to believe that the mountaineers have encountered danger, and said they were equipped with satellite phones and walkie-talkies, which may have run out of batteries.

“It is quite possible that the batteries in their communication devices have stopped working,” he told DVB on Friday. “We have no reason to believe they are in danger.”

Nonetheless, he said, an emergency meeting would be called for tomorrow [Saturday] if the Burmese mountaineers fail to contact Thabawa Khawthanor, the organising team at Hkakabo Razi base camp.

The eight Burmese climbers, led by Aung Myint Myat, set off by foot for the summit on 31 July. They scaled the peak at 5pm on 31 August.

DVB reported on Tuesday that the expeditioners had decided to leave the summit immediately as it was nearly dark when they arrived. They were expected to have descended the mountain to base camp by 8 September.