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Food rations the key to survival for missing climbers

Rescue teams uncover a bag of rations left behind on the route by the two Burmese climbers for their descent. (PHOTO: Htoo Foundation)

Burma’s two missing mountaineers, Aung Myint Myat and Wai Yan, may still be alive if they have located enough of the food rations stashed for the descent of Hkakabo Razi, said Myo Thant, the chairman of the Thabawa Khawthan (Nature’s Call) Foundation, organiser of the expedition.

The two climbers went missing 23 days ago after reaching the summit of Southeast Asia’s highest mountain, a feat confirmed by the GPS coordinates on their communications devices. However, either faulty satellite phones or a lack of battery power left them incommunicado from the other six members of the expedition who returned to the base camp without their colleagues.

Food rations were stationed at points along the intended route for descent in case of such an emergency, Myo Thant said.

Myo Thant was speaking at a press briefing on 21 September as a search and rescue mission involving helicopters and aircraft got underway. A team of Chinese rescuers have also set off from the Tibetan side of the mountain.

The rescue mission has been delayed and set back by inclement weather and an apparent lack of coordination between the Burmese sponsors and international rescue teams.

Meanwhile, as hopes fade for the two mountaineers, a 27 September deadline has been set to find the climbers alive.