YANGON (AFP) – A Thai helicopter has lost contact with ground control during a search and rescue effort for two missing mountaineers on Southeast Asia’s highest peak, officials said Sunday.
The helicopter, part of a search team led by a controversial Myanmar tycoon, was carrying three people, including a Thai pilot, expedition organisers said.
“The chopper… lost contact (Saturday) while on their way to drop supplies to rescue teams searching for the two missing mountaineers,” the Htoo Foundation, which deployed the helicopter, said in a statement.
Contact was lost with ground control shortly after it took off from Putao airport in northern Kachin state on Saturday afternoon, it added.
Two other helicopters from the foundation and a government Mi-17 helicopter are also searching for the missing aircraft “and soldiers, local police force and local people are cooperating”, the statement said.
A photo made available Sept 28 shows a Thailand Advance Aviation owned Eurocopter EC-130 helicopter taking off from Putao Airport, Kachin State, Myanmar, Sept 27. Htoo Foundation has announced that the helicopter, used for the search for two missing climbers, lost contact with ground control 20 minutes after taking off from Putao airport at 2.20pm local time on its way to drop food packages for a rescue team – EPA
In this photo displayed during a press conference on Sept 21 in Yangon, Myanmar climbers and their helpers pose for a photo at the base camp in Myanmar’s icy mountain Hkakabo Razi, in Kachin State. A rescue helicopter from Thailand has lost contact with ground control during a search for two climbers who scaled Southeast Asia’s highest peak a month ago, officials said Sept 28 – AP
The missing mountaineers, Aung Myint Myat and Wai Yan Min Thu lost contact with the rest of their team in early September after reaching the summit of Hkaka Borazi in Myanmar’s portion of the Himalayas.
The mountain, in the northern state of Kachin, is 5,881 metres (19,295 feet) high.
According to Thailand’s Advance Aviation, the missing helicopter was fitted with an Emergency Location Transmitter (ELT) which sends an alert in case of an accident.