Search for missing Everest climber ends a day early

Looking for leads: Equipment failure hampers the SAR operation for Muhammad Hawari. — Photo from Malaysia Everest 2023’s Facebook page

KUALA LUMPUR: The search and rescue (SAR) mission for Malaysian Everest 2023 (ME2023) climber Muhammad Hawari Hashim, who has been missing on Mount Everest since May 19, ended a day early.

ME2023 team manager Ayu Wanirah Naharudin said she received information from the head of the mission, Azim Afif Ishak, informing her that the drone used for the SAR operation was having technical issues with the photos and video footage recordings.

“The problem may be due to the cold weather, causing the drone not to function properly after it was deployed for three consecutive days,” she said in a statement.

Ayu Wanirah said she and another ME2023 climber, Tiong Ling Yang, were already in Kathmandu, Nepal, to examine the photos and videos that were sent prior to this.

“We will continue to examine the pictures and videos that have been recorded.

“If we get new leads, we will seek the advice of the Nepalese authorities and the Malaysian Embassy,” she said, Bernama reported.

In addition to the drone problem Ayu Wanirah said the SAR team was also facing issues with the appointed helicopter operator as the company had recalled its pilot back to Germany.

“These problems made it difficult to continue with the SAR mission which had only one day left.

“Our team had to comply with the instructions due to safety reasons,” she added.

Two drones were used in the SAR mission – the DJI Matrice 300 RTK and the DJI Mavic 3 – which were specially flown from Malaysia.

Muhammad Hawari’s SAR operation entered its 19th day yesterday since he was reported missing after leaving Camp Four at an altitude of 8,000m above sea level.

He was said to have successfully conquered the summit of Everest on May 18 at 3.30pm Nepal time.

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