No news yet of missing Malaysian trekkers

No news yet of missing Malaysian trekkers

KATHMANDU - There has been no news on the two Malaysian trekkers reported missing prior to the 7.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the Himalayan region on April 25.

The Malaysian embassy's councillor/charge d'affairs Fadli Adilah said as of Saturday, the search-and-rescue team and Nepali police had not found both men.

Businessman Dennis Lee Thian Poh, 47, was reported missing while trekking from Khopra Danda to Deurali in north-central Nepal on April 5, while Sai Jaya Raj Anthony, 37, went missing on April 21.

Anthony's family had informed the embassy that he had entered Nepal via New Delhi, and that the last communication received from him was from Langtang, a popular trekking site after Annapurna and Everest.

Fadli said he had been in constant communication with Nepali authorities. They told him that there were several avalanches and landslides reported in both areas even before the earthquake.

Nepal is a popular destination for Malaysian climbers, especially to the Annapurna, Langtang and Everest ranges.

In a related development, undeterred by the earthquake that claimed some 7,000 lives, a five-member team from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) in Skudai, Johor, were still hoping to scale the world's highest peak.

Team leader Azim Afif said they were determined although they were forced to call off their expedition after Nepal authorities banned any trekking activity following the deaths of 18 climbers due to an avalanche triggered by the earthquake. He told Bernama that they would return to the Everest Base Camp once the authorities had lifted the ban.

The group arrived at the Thibhuvan International Airport here late on Friday from Lukla in a specially chartered helicopter after being advised by UTM vice-chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Wahid Omar.

Azim, 27, said they were still determined to complete their expedition after the group's first attempt in April last year was cancelled. That cancellation followed the deaths of 18 sherpas due to a major avalanche.

The team members are Azim's wife, Anis Zulaika Zabani, 25, Jamhuri Jumari, 21, Farul Aidib Mohammad Yusoff, 21, and Azham Afzanizam Hamzah, 27. They arrived in Lukla on March 28 and have been acclimatising themselves at the base camp when the earthquake struck.

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