A week on, rescuers unable to reach Mumbai mountaineer who slipped into a gorge

Wadala resident Richard Kher meet with the accident during his last mountaineering expedition in Himachal before leaving for Mumbai; incident occurred on August 29 while he was descending Castle Peak

It's been a week since Wadala resident Richard Kher (28) fell into a gorge after an adventure trip to Castle Peak, Himachal Pradesh, took an ugly turn, and rescuers are yet to reach him.

A few of the pictures clicked by Sunny before and after Richard’s fall
A few of the pictures clicked by Sunny before and after Richard’s fall

Richard and his NRI friend Sunny, from the US, along with two local porters, went on their final mountaineering expedition to scale the peak in Miyar valley on August 29, before returning to Mumbai.

Unfortunately, the expedition became a disaster after Richard, an avid mountaineer, lost his footing during descent and slipped into an almost vertical gorge — hundreds of meters deep. Soon after the accident, Sunny walked an entire day back to Udaipur, located in Lahaul and Spiti district, to seek help and inform the authorities about the mishap.

Richard, an avid mountaineer, lost his footing during descent and slipped into an almost vertical gorge — hundreds of metres deep
Richard, an avid mountaineer, lost his footing during descent and slipped into an almost vertical gorge — hundreds of metres deep

Official speak
Speaking to mid-day, Dr Amit Guleria, sub-divisional magistrate, Udaipur, Dist Lahoul and Spiti (HP), who is overseeing the search and rescue operation, informed that all efforts to rescue Richard have failed so far and help has now been sought from the Air Force to deploy their helicopters in the area where Richard is believed to be trapped.

He claimed rescuers were pressed into action on August 30 itself, after Sunny approached them. “We have a team of about twenty volunteers, all highly-trained mountaineers, who are presently trying to reach Richard,” he said.

When contacted, Radha Devi, head of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Institute of Mountaineering and Allied Sports informed that two teams — comprising seven members from the institute — have been pressed into the search and rescue operation. However, their efforts have failed to yield result.

“It is a daunting task for all. First, you have to reach Khanjar village and then trek for another ten hours to the site of the accident,” she said. Nanakchant, chief instructor at the institute, said according to the information they received, there has been no communication from Richard despite him having a satellite phone.

Richard’s father Joseph, a marine engineer, and mother Judith are in Himachal. They are residing at the Government Guest house near Udaipur. When contacted, the Khers said that they were not in a state to make any comments.

‘A go-getter’
Leeladhar Bansod, deputy registrar, Mumbai University, informed that Richard was a student of 2009 batch of their Communication and Journalism course at the varsity’s Kalina campus. “He specialised in electronic media.

Being a multi-faceted personality, with a unique passion for mountaineering and photography, he eventually became a part-time faculty member and even registered for his PhD.

Within a short span, he became quite popular and was instrumental in initiating and setting up a special course on Documentary and Film making,” said Bansod.

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