Revealed: How, when and where the trekker went missing?

Nawab Mouzam

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In pic, Hilal, the missing trekker

Srinagar, June 16: Just returned back from Gangbal valley; had gone there as part of Jammu and Kashmir Mountaineering and Hiking Club (JKMHC) rescue team to aid the Ganderbal Administration/Police to trace the missing trekker from Bemina, Srinagar.

The missing guy, Hilal Basit, an MBA from Kashmir University, had planned to visit Kolsar Lake in the vicinity of Gangbal Valley, a 13KM trek (6 hours) from Naranag along with 4 other trekkers.

The journey started from Naranag on 14 June 2020 (Sunday) at 6AM. They reached Trunkol Meadow by 12 45 pm. As per the other trekkers, there the missing guy, Hilal Basit, told them that he is very tired and wont be able to join them to the Kolsar Lake, which was hardly one hour walk from that spot, and asked others to carry on their travel the lake. He had told them that he would be waiting for them at the same spot.

The rest of the party went ahead with their plan and hit the lake at 2 PM and returned back by 3PM. However, at 4:30PM, when they reached back to Trunkol Meadow, the spot where they had left behind Hilal Basit, they ‌couldn’t find him there.

They looked here and there for him for an hour, but couldn’t trace him. They decided to move back to Naranag, assuming that Hilal Basit might have trekked back down to the starting point. On reaching back to Naranag at 8:30PM, they couldn’t again find him, also couldn’t get through to his phone, while his scooty was parked at the same place.

At this point, the family of Hilal Basit also contacted them and they came to know that he is missing. Same night, the brother of Hilal reached Naranag at 11PM and trekked to Trunkol to find his brother at night.

Next day, i.e Monday, 15th June, 2020, two Policemen of Police Station Kangan alongwith two of the four trekker-associates of Hilal Basit and nearly 15 local Gujars and Bakerwals tried to search him.

By the evening of 15th , the news of Hilal’s mysterious disappearance started doing rounds on social media and news networks. A JKMHC rescue team comprising of 12 members was setup as per the instructions of the Club president Mahmood Ah Shah, which stepped out of Srinagarat 3AM in the morning of 16 June 2020 i.e today to aid the local administration and police in the search operation.

We reached the Trunkol Meadow by 9AM and sweeped the Kolsar area, Trunkol Meadow and Trunkol Forest, Choti Butsheri and Butsheri but without a single trace of the missing guy, Hilal. We were a party of 30 people Including JKMHC volunteers, JK Police, Local Bakerwals and we put out best of our efforts amid limited team and resources.

It is pertinent to mention that this trek site is the top-most and well-recognized ones of the Kashmir valley and the route is very wide, well defined as well as very busy one, usually visited by local Gujars, Bakerwals, Kashmiri Shepherds and Trekkers.

It is highly unlikely that a trekker will be lost in this trek on account of not finding the trail. Also, to me, the most probable event which justifies him being lost is that he might have had a fall and got injured enroute to Naranag, however this is my personal opinion and God knows the best.

At the moment, Hilal’s family members, JK Police, Local Gujars and Bakerwals are camping at Trunkol and will search for the missing with tomorrow’s first light with the hope that they are able to locate him tomorrow, In Sha Allah, in good health.

Nawab Mouzam is a known trekker of Valley and was a part of rescue operation team. The views and details shared are his own and KSW doesn’t endorse any of it.

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