Saturday, June 16, 2007


Gangtok, June 15: An adventure trip to a spot around 3,000 ft above the hill town went awry after one of the members of the trek team went missing yesterday.
Team-mates lost sight of Tenzing Chepo, a resident of Sichey near here, while returning from Panch Pokhri, a lake above Kabi in North Sikkim. The 20-year-old student of a Calcutta college was home for the summer vacation and had left for a trek with four of his friends on June 10.
A missing report was filed by Chepo’s father at the Phodong police station yesterday evening after a gothala (shepherd) from Zethang came down to Kabi, 15 km from here, and met police and the boy’s relatives. He said the other members of the team had sent him to inform Chepo’s family while they searched the forests.
A search and rescue team comprising residents from Kabi, Sikkim police personnel and family members of the boy left early this morning for the spot located at a height of 8,000 ft to 9,000 ft.
The deputy inspector-general of police (range), Akshay Sachdeva, confirmed that a missing report has been filed and that search teams have left for the spot.
“If necessary another search team might leave for the spot and the Sikkim police will do all it can to locate the missing boy,” said Sachdeva.
According to the shepherd, the group had come back to Zethang from Panch Pokhri on June 12. The boys had camped there for a night before heading for Kabi. It was on the Zethang-Kabi route that Chepo went missing.
Reports received said four members of the group were walking slightly ahead of Chepo. After sometime, when they looked behind to check on their friend, they found him missing. At first they thought that Chepo might have wandered into the forest and would join them later. Soon they realised that he was taking too much time to come out.
The police and family members, too, suspect that Chepo might have lost his way. “That is why we have sent a rescue team,” said Sachdeva.
The presence of wild animals, including the Himalayan black bear, in the forest is a cause of worry. Besides, according to Chepo’s friends, the boy has already gone without food for two days.