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Singapore-based Malaysian doctor safely rescued after going missing on Nepal mountain

Singapore-based Malaysian doctor safely rescued after going missing on Nepal mountain

Dr Chin Wui Kin summited Mount Everest in 2018, but returned to Nepal in 2019 to climb Mount Annapurna. (Photos: Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, Seven Summit Treks)

SINGAPORE: A Malaysian climber stranded in the open for two nights near the summit of Nepal's Mount Annapurna was rescued on Thursday (Apr 25), expedition organisers said.

Climbing experts said it was a "miracle" that 48-year-old Dr Chin Wui Kin survived the freezing conditions on Mount Annapurna for so long.

"Our team has found him alive. He is conscious," said Mr Thaneshwor Guragain, an official from expedition organiser Seven Summit Treks.

Dr Chin, who is a visiting senior anaesthesiology consultant at Singapore's Ng Teng Fong General Hospital, was separated from other trekkers while descending the treacherous peak.

He summited the 8,100m Himalayan mountain on Tuesday with at least 31 others but failed to return to the nearest camp, 1km below the peak.

Mr Guragain said Dr Chin's guide stumbled into the camp late Tuesday after the two had lagged behind the rest.

"Details of the climber's condition are not clear, but his guide said it was impossible to bring him down by himself. We are aware of his location," Mr Guragain had said on Wednesday.

Some team members waited at the camp for extra oxygen in the hope of reaching Dr Chin but efforts to send a helicopter with supplies were hampered by bad weather. 

Early Thursday, a rescue helicopter spotted Dr Chin waving from the snowy slopes at an elevation of around 7,500m, organisers said.

In Facebook posts on Thursday afternoon, Seven Summit Treks said it had marked Dr Chin's location on the area C3 of the mountain, and deployed four sherpas to rescue him.

The sherpas, pictured abseiling from a helicopter, are part of Nepal's mountain search and rescue team.

At around 2.40pm (Singapore time) on Thursday, Seven Summit Treks said the rescue team had been dropped, adding that it would take them "some hours" to reach Dr Chin's location.

In a media statement at around 6pm on Thursday, Malaysia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said rescuers were in the process of bringing Dr Chin down from the mountain so that he could receive medical care. 

Said Mr Guragain: "They have given him some water and are trying to bring him down."

In its statement, the ministry expressed gratitude to the government of Nepal and the search and rescue team that sucessfully located and rescued the climber. 

Dr Chin had returned to Nepal after summiting Mount Everest last year.

No details of his condition were given, but Mingma Sherpa of Seven Summits Treks called the rescue "a miracle".

"We were very worried yesterday," he said. "Not everyone can survive at that altitude for that long. This is rare."

Mount Annapurna is technically difficult and avalanche-prone and has a higher death rate than Everest, the world's highest peak.

Nine South Korean climbers were killed last October after a snowstorm swept them off a cliff on Mount Gurja, west of Annapurna.

Hundreds of people from around the world travel to the Himalayas each year for the spring climbing season, when conditions are best.

Source: CNA/afp/am/jt(aw/aj)


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