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Trek turns tragic in Himachal Pradesh: Two lives lost, canine guardian stands vigil for 48 hours

The Bir Billing region, located at an elevation of 5,000 feet, is known for trekking and paragliding activities. Gupta, a seasoned paraglider residing in the area for four years, had joined the group with Wala, who had recently arrived from Pune, embarking on the expedition after a bout of snowfall.

Trek turns tragic in Himachal Pradesh: Two lives lost, canine guardian stands vigil for 48 hours AJR
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First Published Feb 8, 2024, 4:33 PM IST

Tragedy struck during a trekking expedition in Himachal Pradesh's Bir Billing, claiming the lives of two trekkers, Abhinandan Gupta (30) from Pathankot and Pranita Wala (26) from Pune. A German Shepherd, their loyal companion, stood sentinel beside their bodies for nearly 48 hours until they were found on Tuesday. While the cause of their demise appears to be due to fall, authorities await the results of the post-mortem to confirm the details.

The Bir Billing region, located at an elevation of 5,000 feet, is known for trekking and paragliding activities. Gupta, a seasoned paraglider residing in the area for four years, had joined the group with Wala, who had recently arrived from Pune, embarking on the expedition after a bout of snowfall.

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According to Kangra district police chief Veer Bahadur, a preliminary investigation revealed that a group of four, including two women, initially set out in a car. When the vehicle reached its limits, the group continued on foot. However, adverse weather conditions prompted two members to turn back, seeking safety with the assistance of others. Undeterred, Gupta, asserting familiarity with the route, pressed forward with Pranita and their faithful canine companion.

As concerns grew over the prolonged absence of Gupta and Wala, the remaining members of the group filed a missing complaint, prompting a search operation. The rescue teams, navigating challenging terrain, discovered the bodies three kilometers below the paragliding launch point. The treacherous, snow-covered landscape seemed to have caused the fatal slip and fall.

During the recovery mission, the German Shepherd, steadfast beside the fallen trekkers, expressed its grief through persistent barking and wailing. Autopsies were conducted, and the bodies were subsequently handed over to the grieving families.

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Senior police officer Bahadur issued a cautionary message to tourists, highlighting the region's unpredictable weather conditions. He emphasized the importance of local guidance for anyone venturing into the area, citing the rapid changes in weather and the challenge of navigating snow-covered tracks.

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