Hopes fade for climbing trio missing in Xinjiang

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 22 August, 1998, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 22 August, 1998, 12:00am

Hopes were fading last night for three Hong Kong mountaineers lost for a week in Tian Shan, Xinjiang region, as bad weather grounded the rescue mission.

The central Government has sent helicopters to help the search but thick clouds grounded them.

A spokesman for the Xinjiang People's Government said a 10-man rescue team was working hard to find the three but so far only their last camp site, with some food and equipment, had been found.

The missing trio are engineer Chan King-chuen, 29, bank vice-manager Lam Chi-wai, 33, and renovation contractor Yeung Chi-ho, 35, married with a son aged four.

Chan and Lam, both unmarried, had tried to climb the mountain in 1996. It was Yeung's first attempt.

The three climbers are members of Ngok Fung Climbing Society. The society organised a trip to Xinjiang to conquer the Bogda Shan peak earlier this month.

They started their climbing mission on August 3.

Everything went smoothly until August 15 when three of the mountaineers, sent to secure the camp site for the team, lost contact with headquarters. Emergency services were then called.

The China Xinjiang Climbing Society, masterminding the rescue, pledged to keep on searching until the climbers or their bodies were found.

Bogda Shan, 5,445m high, is famed for its beautiful scenery and being a difficult climb. The mountain, covered in ice and snow all year, is known as the 'Sea of Snow'.