KATMANDU – The search for three Japanese mountaineers and their Nepalese guide believed caught in an avalanche in Nepal will resume this week, according to the chief of the Japan Professional Guide Association.
Michihiro Kadoya, the association’s chairman who has been in Katmandu since Tuesday, said the search for Toshio Yamamoto, 36, Daisuke Honda, 32, Osamu Tanabe, 49, and their Nepalese guide, Pasang Gelu Sherpa, 47, will resume Friday or Saturday, weather permitting.
The four men have been missing since an avalanche struck the slopes of Mount Dhaulagiri on Sept. 28.
According to Kadoya, two to three professional Japanese guides and about five Nepalese Sherpas will fly to the mountain’s base camp and resume the search.
Kadoya is waiting for permission from Nepalese authorities to fly to the base camp. He is also waiting for specialized search equipment that helps track buried human bodies. The equipment is expected to arrive in Katmandu from Japan on Thursday night.
The search is expected to last around five days, Kadoya said.
It will be focused on seven points marked by two of the surviving members of the expedition — Kazuaki Shimada and Ryuseki Hiraoka — who carried out a ground search until Sunday before halting it and returning to Katmandu.
The seven points lie in an area measuring 200 by 150 meters. The area is sloped and is located between the elevations of 5,100 and 5,200 meters.
Kadoya admitted that conditions on the mountain are difficult and said his first priority is the safety of those who will carry out the search.
The wives of those missing have also arrived in Katmandu.
Shimada and Hiraoka, who are now in the Nepalese capital, found a climbing rope during their search last week, but were unable to dig deep enough to reach the end.
Earlier this week, the Himalayan Rescue Association, a nonprofit organization that seeks to reduce casualties in the area, said the chances of finding the climbers are slim.
The government’s Mountaineering Department said the avalanche covered slopes between 6,700 meters and 5,100 meters on the 8,167-meter peak, the seventh-highest mountain in the world.
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