Fifty-year-old Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) deputy general manager Supriyo Barman, who was stuck near the Panpatia glacier in Rudraprayag district for the past four days, died.
The death of Barman, who was also the leader of the group of trekkers, was revealed by his other team members who along with five porters managed to climb down to the nearest base camp at Madmaheshwar on Friday after trekking for over 30 km.
“Three Delhi-based trekkers — Sanjay Sharma, Bhagwati Prasad and Pawan Kaushik — along with five porters safely reached Madmaheshwar on Friday. However, they informed us that Supriyo Barman died on September 26. We are going to airlift the trekkers on Saturday morning and a team will be sent to bring back Barman’s body,” Rudraprayag district magistrate Mangesh Ghildiyal said.
According to fellow trekker Dharmendra Singh, who had climbed down to Madmaheshwar on Tuesday and alerted the authorities about how others were stuck at an altitude of 4000 metres, group leader Supriyo Barman was doing fine till Panpatia — although a bit feeble — but his condition deteriorated in the last two days. “There was about 4-5 feet of snow around our tents. We had enough food supplies though,” Singh said.
Hailing from West Bengal, Barman, believed to be a deputy general manager (DGM) in IOC, was an avid trekker and had been part of many treks in the past. “He told us that he had attempted Badrinath-Kedarnath trek earlier as well but failed due to bad weather. This was his second attempt to complete the 90-km trek. He was planning to go on Kalindi Khal trek next year,” Singh said.
Meanwhile, a State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) team, which was sent to rescue the trekkers, is presently with the survivors at Madmaheshwar.
Despite numerous attempts made in the past three days, Army and IAF helicopters could not land at Panpatia glacier due to either inclement weather or difficult terrain.
“I have spoken to the three trekkers and they are healthy and doing fine right now. We have already airlifted two porters who reached a bit early on Friday,” the DM said.
Fellow trekker Dharmendra Singh, who is now in Rudraprayag, told TOI “We had started the trek on September 17 from Benakuli near Badrinath. After eight days of trekking, we reached Panpatia on September 24 and the weather suddenly started changing with heavy snowfall. The group was supposed to reach Delhi on October 7, the district authorities said.