Another British trekker goes missing in Nepal

January 27th, 2009 - 3:20 pm ICT by IANS  

Kathmandu, Jan 27 (IANS) A British trekker, who was last seen at the foothills of the Himalayan ranges in northern Nepal in December, remains missing still.Julian Alexander Wynne, a 33-year-old from Hampshire, was travelling in Nepal with his friend Lee Aaron Jeffries when he was reported missing.

According to Nepal Tourism Board, Wynne and Jeffries had gone trekking in the Everest region from mountainous Jiri district Dec 9. Though the two went up to Gokyo, a valley in north Nepal famed for the Gokyo Ri peak, on Dec 22, the two decided to follow separate routes.

Wynne reportedly set off on the trail to the base camp of Mt Everest, the highest peak in the world. He had earlier told his family that he would be “off the radar” for three weeks.

However, his family began to get worried after three weeks had passed without any news from him and they learnt that Jeffries had returned alone.

Wynne had originally planned to travel through India and Nepal for nine months.

“Guides and porters have been looking for Wynne without coming across him,” Ang Tshering Sherpa, chairman of Asian Trekking, told IANS.

“In winter, the Cho Las pass, where he was seen last, becomes treacherous and slippery due to ice-formation. If he is not anywhere else, the possibility of an accident can’t be ruled out.”

In March 2004, another Briton went missing in the Everest area in Nepal. Gareth Koch, a 24-year-old from Oxford, went missing around Namche Bazar. He has not been found yet.

A year earlier, Irish citizen Alex Ratnasothy was robbed on the way to Namche Bazar. His parents, who came to Nepal to search for him, reportedly found the 24-year-old had been robbed of his money, bag, guitar and even shoes in a village called Khari Khola.

Ratnasothy’s whereabouts still remain a mystery along with French tourist Celine Henri, who vanished from a national park on the outskirts of Kathmandu valley in 2005.

Wynne’s disappearance comes as an embarrassment for the new Nepal government that this month announced grandiose plans to draw one million tourists in 2011.

While reeling under a virtually 18-hour daily power outage, deteriorating security situation and regular closures, the government has detailed its plans to boost tourism two years later but is yet to make any official announcement or initiate any search for the missing trekker.

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