New Delhi, April 4: Top Indian mountaineer Malli Mastan Babu, who had achieved the feat of becoming the "fastest seven summiteer" in the world has been found dead. Babu was missing since March 24 after he went on a climb up the high mountains between Argentina and Chile.
40-year-old Babu, a native of Nellore district, had gone to Chile about 10 days ago for an expedition to climb the 21,748 feet-high Cerro Tres Cruces Sur on the Chilean side of the Andes range.
Babu, who has many records to his credit, had famously scaled seven summits of the world in 172 days in 2006. Malli Mastan Babu , who hails from Nellore in Andhra region, was a 2000-2002 IIM pass out. Besides IIM, he also had a degree from IIT Kharagpur.
A Facebook page 'Rescue Malli Mastan Babu' launched by his supporters and well wishers had this single post on Saturday : "Mountains retained its favourite child.. R.I.P Malli Mastan Babu."
On Thursday, external affairs ministry spokesperson Syed Akbaruddin said that search teams from Argentina and Chile were searching the Andes mountain for Babu. His sister Dorasanamma is in Argentina.
On Saturday, Akbaruddin tweeted: "RIP #MalliMastanBabu. With his friends & family we are working with authorities in Argentina & Chile on next steps in a difficult situation."
The post about his death has already got his admirers writing messages of tribute.
One post said: "Mastan embraced South America as his own in his last four years. He learned Spanish to be able to move in South American countries and he really enjoyed the Andes and its vast set of challenges. Mastan has been the amazing unofficial brand ambassador for the South American adventure destinations especially the Andes."
Earlier, handlers of his rescue operations slammed the central government for not acting swiftly on the matter.
"The rescue operations are turning out to be tricky as Andes borders Argentina and Chile and we need to take permissions from both the governments, making the process more time consuming. We are also in touch with the Ministry of External Affairs here and the officials have assured help but it is a lot slower than required. I am sure the response would have been different and faster had Babu been an American or an Israeli citizen," said Delhi-based Uboweja, who is also an IIM Calcutta graduate.
The rescue operations in the treacherous terrain cost a fortune but Babu's friends from all around the world are contributing generously in hope that he pulls through eventually.
"We have managed to accumulate around USD 60,000 and sadly that is only enough for helicopter services for two days. That is why it is important for the Indian government to step in," said Uboweja.
"One recent positive development that we have come to know is that others who had gone to the expedition have come back. Babu has been going on expeditions for more than a decade. He is used to facing tough situations. At the same time, the concern is that there has no news of him since he went missing on March 24," he added.
(with inputs from agencies)