NEW DELHI — 'Mountains retained its favourite child'.... was the poignant and incredibly sad message late on Friday on the Facebook page the well-wishers of ace Indian mountaineer Malli Mastan Babu had recently set up. The message along with TV reports confirmed that Babu, who went missing in the Andes on March 24, has been found dead.
However, Babu’s brother Prakash in Hyderabad told the Deccan Chronicle that the family had no official confirmation of his death.
An announcement on Facebook page 'Rescue Malli Mastan Babu' created by his friends and well wishers read "Mountains retained its favourite child.. R.I.P Malli Mastan Babu."
Helicopter teams from Argentina and Chile were searching the Andes mountains for Babu. External affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said Babu went missing on March 24 while climbing the mountain between Chile and Argentina.
Babu is a top Indian mountaineer, having achieved the feat of becoming the "fastest seven summiteer" in the world (172 days in 2006, during which he climbed seven summits on seven days of the week in each calendar month). He is also the first Indian to summit Mt Vinson Massif, the tallest peak in Antarctica and the first person from Andhra Pradesh to scale the Everest.
He is an alumnus of IIT-Kharagpur and IIM-Kolkata. His sister Dorasanamma is in Argentina to monitor the search operations.
Babu left home in Nellore in Andhra Pradesh for the trip on December 16. The weather turned bad just after Babu set out on his trek up the Andes mountains. (With inputs from agencies)