Two West Bengal trekkers of an 18-strong team died of extreme weather conditions near Khemenger Glacier in Himachal's mountains while 14 others are on their way back to safety after staying stranded there for several days, an official said on Tuesday.
Two others of the stranded trekkers' team had managed to reach Kaza, the subdivisional headquarters of the remote Spiti Valley in the western Himalayas in the Lahaul and Spiti district, on Tuesday on their own, bringing the news of their disastrous expedition to the district administration, he said.
The trekkers who died near the glacier in Himachal's tribal district Lahaul-Spiti were identified by officials as 61-year-old Bhaskardeb Mukhopadhyay and 38-year-old and Sandeep Kumar Thakurata, both West Bengal natives.
A rescue team of the ITBP and Army jawans will leave for the Khemenger Glacier on Wednesday morning to retrieve the bodies.
The fate of stranded trekkers came to the knowledge of the district administration on Monday after the two members of the trekkers' team managed to reach the Kaza township.
On coming to know of the death of the two trekkers and about the fate of 14 other stranded ones, the district administration rushed on Tuesday afternoon a 32-member rescue team of the Army and ITBP jawans and porters and doctors.
The 14 trekkers, meanwhile, had begun their journey way back after leaving the bodies and were located at Dhar Chanko by the rescue team which had started from Kah village in the Pin Valley for the Khemenger Glacier.
The 14 trekkers are likely to reach Kah base camp soon while the rescue team will stay at Dhar Chanko today, the official said.
Lahaul-Spiti Deputy Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, meanwhile, said the rescue team has adequate eatables and a GPS to guide them.
The trekkers will be taken to Kaza Community Health Centre once they reach Kah base camp, he added.
A team comprising of six West Bengal trekkers had begun their expedition to the Khemenger Glacier across the Parahio Valley in Lahaul-Sipti district from Arete Mountaineering Club, Kolkata on September 11.
They were accompanied by one guide and 11 porters, the official said, adding the trekking expedition was scheduled from September 11 to October 7.
The group had taken permission from the Indian Mountaineering Federation.
The trekkers had left Batal for Kaza via Khemenger Glacier on September 15 but could not go beyond the glacier due to snowfall, he said, adding the two trekkers died at the glacier due to extreme weather conditions.
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