SAR operation for Hawari ends today, to continue next year
KATHMANDU, Nepal - The search and rescue (SAR) operation to find the Malaysian Everest 2023 (ME2023) hearing-impaired climber Muhammad Hawari Hashim, 33, (Hawari) has ended today and will continue next year.
ME2023 mission chief Azim Afif Ishak said they had carried out the SAR operations from May 19 to June 15, 2023, but were still unable to trace or find any clues as to what had happened to him.
Azim said the special permit to use drones and aerial surveillance for the SAR operation, approved by the Nepalese authorities had expired and climbing activities to the summit of Everest had stopped since May 29.
He said the SAR operation yesterday (Thursday) had detected an object between Camp Two and Camp Three, but it turns out to be a pile of rubbish and a tent that was blown away by the wind.
"The object was detected through photos and video recorded by a drone on June 8, believed to be Hawari's remains based on the color of the suit he wore during the climbing mission but they deliberately didn't reveal the discovery because it was not confirmed yet," he said in a press conference, here, today.
Also present was the Chargé d'Affaires of the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu Mohd Fadzle Abu Hasan; Pioneer Adventure director Nivesh Karki climbing guide Nga Tenji, and two of Hawari's family members which were his youngest brother Mohamad Ismail and Azhar Ilias were also present
The Pioneer Adventure based in Nepal had managed the ME2023 climbing mission by providing climbing guides, logistics and food supply throughout the mission.
Previously, the government through the Youth and Sports Ministry had allocated RM1.48 million while the Penang state government provided RM500,000 to the Altitude Exploration Club to fund the SAR operation to find Hawari.
Azim said the last SAR operation which was held yesterday was supposed to be done last Tuesday but due to bad weather, the SAR team and the helicopter could not enter the location where they had discovered the object.
He said three climber guides and a photographer that was assigned to the location found the object and confirmed that it was not Hawari's remains.
He said the SAR operation is expected to continue in the 2024 climbing season but discussions with relevant parties about the matter will be held first.
"Hawari is classified as a 'missing person' because his remains could not been found up until today," he said.
Azmin added that the SAR operation had ended after discussions and advice from the Malaysian embassy in Nepal.
He explained that the operator of the climbing activities to the summit of Everest in Nepal also suggested the SAR operation to be postponed for the team's safety and due to the current unpredictable weather.