24/05/2023 11:16 PM

KUALA LUMPUR, May 24 (Bernama) -- The government through the Ministry of Youth and Sports (KBS) has channelled RM1.48 million in financial assistance to the Altitude Exploration Club to facilitate the search for a hearing-impaired mountaineer Muhammad Hawari Hashim who was reported missing on May 18 during the Malaysia Everest 2023 (ME 2023) mission.

KBS secretary-general Dr Nagulendran Kangayatkarasu said the aid was to enable the search and rescue (SAR) operation to be intensified before all activities on Mount Everest are stopped next Monday.

"Efforts to locate Muhammad Hawari are being actively carried out in all places, camps and tents. Air search is also being carried out.  I was told that the search mission has been expanded, and the operators controlling the routes in the Tibetan area are also helping to find Muhammad Hawari,” he said at a press conference in Parliament today.

He said the SAR mission must be carried out quickly because all climbers are required to come down from Everest before May 28 as all climbing activities will be stopped from May 29 for safety reasons.

Also present at the press conference were ME 2023 chef de mission Tan Sri Dr Salleh Mohd Nor and the Consular Division secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Datuk Mohammad Ali Selamat.

Asked if the government would extend the mission after that date, Nagulendran said the government would comply with the closure notice issued by the Nepalese government, adding he was confident that Muhammad Hawari would be found before the closure.

"We do not want to endanger more lives if we continue the search mission after May 29," he said, adding he hoped the SAR mission would be successful and Muhammad Hawari could be brought home safely.

On behalf of the ministry, Nagulendran also expressed condolences to the family of the late Kedah Civil Defence Force director Lieutenant Colonel Awang Askandar Ampuan Yaacob who died during the ME 2023 mission.

"The Malaysian government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs is working to bring the remains back to Malaysia as soon as the process of bringing it down is fully completed in Kathmandu," he said.

Meanwhile, Dr Salleh said besides the weather condition, cold temperatures and lack of oxygen that could cause hallucinations among climbers, falling into ice chasms could also complicate the mission further.


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