KUALA LUMPUR: Following reports that a hearing-impaired Malaysian mountaineer went missing while descending Mount Everest, the expedition’s team manager on Monday (May 22) said that the search and rescue operation for the man is continuing in the ice crevices in addition to tracing his mobile phone.
Local media had reported that Mr Muhammad Hawari Hashim has been missing since Friday after he successfully scaled the summit of Mount Everest in Nepal.
The 33-year-old is part of the Malaysian Everest 2023 (ME2023) expedition. It was organised by Kelab Eksplorasi Altitud with the support of the Malaysian government and the Ministry of Youth and Sports.
On Monday, Bernama reported expedition team manager Ayu Wanirah Naharuddin as saying that the search and rescue operation was being handled by Mr Hawari’s teammate.
She added that the aerial search and rescue operation carried out on Sunday did not find any traces of humans in the climbing area or unusual trails.
"We have found a Gore-Tex jacket containing 'Recco' belonging to Muhammad Hawari at Camp 2. The Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu has contacted the Nepal Police for help to trace Muhammad Hawari's iPhone," she was quoted as saying by Bernama.
Recco technology allows one to be more quickly located by rescue professionals.
Mr Hawari’s family had earlier asked all Malaysians to pray for his safety, according to Bernama.
His 64-year-old mother, Ms Che Tom Hassan, reportedly said on Sunday that the family has not received any news or messages from Mr Hawari, who is the third of five siblings.
"We found out (that he went missing) through social media yesterday morning and I tried to contact his team to get the latest information about him but failed.
"The last time I was able to contact him was when (he) was at Camp 2. He asked us all to pray and recite the Yassin (verses from the Quran) for him to be able to climb to the top of Everest,” she was quoted by Bernama as telling reporters when met at her house in Permatang Kerai Besar in Penang.
“(He) told us not to worry about him (and that) he was ok and safe.”
She added that the family received news on Thursday of Mr Hawari’s success in climbing to the top of Mount Everest before they found out that he was missing.
“We ask for the prayers of all Malaysians that Warie is found safe," said Ms Che Tom, referring to Mr Hawari.
She also said that despite being shocked by the news of her son going missing, the family, including Mr Hawari's wife and two children, remained positive that he would return to his family safely.
According to Bernama, Mr Hawari started his journey to Nepal on April 1 and is believed to have gone missing while descending from Camp 4 of the world's highest mountain last Friday. News of him going missing was first reported by Nepali media.
REMAINS OF ANOTHER MALAYSIAN CLIMBER TO BE BROUGHT TO KATHMANDU
Meanwhile, efforts to bring down the remains of 56-year-old Lieutenant Colonel Awang Askandar Ampuan Yaacub - who died last Friday during the ME2023 expedition - will be carried out on Monday by helicopter, according to Malaysia’s foreign ministry.
According to Bernama, the ministry said in a statement that this will be executed if the operation to bring down his remains from Camp 4 to Everest Base Camp goes as scheduled. His body will then be flown to Kathmandu.
The foreign ministry also said it will continue to provide consular assistance through the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu to ensure that the process of repatriating the remains of Mr Awang Askandar and the search and rescue mission for Mr Hawari goes smoothly.
Mr Awang Askandar, who was the Malaysian Civil Defence Force (APM) Kedah director, received a heartfelt goodbye from his wife saying that she and their six children would miss him greatly.
In a Facebook post, Ms Siti Hafizan Abdul Hamid said: "I’m really proud of you 'Sawoku' (husband in Kadazan).
“I know you have tried your best … It really hurts to accept that you are no longer here (but) I know I need to accept (what has happened as fate). Thank you for being a great husband for 13 years.”
She also said that she would remain strong for their six children, adding that Mr Awang Askandar was a loving husband and father.
“Although you were busy with work, there has never been a single day that you ignored us … You are indeed a father who really loves all his children, always advising them to ‘help mama, listen to mama’,” she said.
According to the New Straits Times (NST), Mr Awang Askandar died after encountering health problems while at a height of 8,000 metres above sea level during the mission to climb Mount Everest. He will be buried in his hometown in Kampung Benoni, Papar, Sabah.
Separately, a Singaporean climber is the latest to have gone missing on Friday morning after reaching the summit of Mount Everest, leading to his family calling for urgent attention to his situation.
According to a petition on the website change.org, Mr Shrinivas Sainis Dattatraya set out from Singapore to Nepal to climb the world's highest peak last month.
In the petition, his cousin Divya Bharath wrote that on the way down, Mr Shrinivas seemed to have suffered frostbite and altitude sickness. This resulted in him appearing to have separated himself from the rest of his group, and "fallen down at around 8,000m, likely onto the Tibetan side of the mountain".
She said a team of sherpas began search operations on Saturday morning.
News website BNN said Mr Shrinivas was last in contact with base camp officials at around 8,500 metres.