Tuesday, June 19, 2007



GANGTOK: 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.Tenzing Chepo (20) of Sichey busty here, and a student of Kolkata based college, who went missing from Zithang forest, near Kabi, North Sikkim on June 13, is yet to be traced,
Yesterday, the second search team headed by SI, Bigendra Thapa set off from Kabi to with four police personnel and persons from the Forest Department and Sonam Gyatso from Mountaineering Institute and equipped with ration and wireless sets to locate Tenzing Chepo.
Early this morning, the third phase of search operation commenced, headed by ASP, Karma Tenzing Bhutia with six jawans of the Sikkim Armed Police. The DGP has extended full support from the Police to the ongoing intensive search operation to trace Chepo.
On the other hand, the SP North, SP Bhutia is also monitoring the search teams continually. The Phodong Police is also conducting an enquiry and had taken down the statements of Chepo’s fours friends who were with him in the trek.

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 five days.
Earlier on June 14, the first search team had set off in search for Tenzing Chepo with 13 local people from Kabi including Tenzing’s father and DSP, Nedup Bhutia to the Zithang forest till Paanch Pokhari. The team reportedly returned on June 16 with no clue of the missing student. According to sources, the team came across some foot prints near the banks of Ratey Chu Khola but it could not be ascertained whether those were of Chenpo’s.