Two trekkers, one of them a woman, died during a trek in Bir Billing, Himachal Pradesh. For two days, a German shepherd dog that accompanied them remained next to the bodies and continued barking until they were found on Tuesday, almost 48 hours after they disappeared.
The dead trekkers have been identified as Abhinandan Gupta (30) from Pathankot in Punjab and Pranita Wala (26) from Pune. The two appear to have died after a fall, but authorities said an autopsy would confirm the cause of death.
Bir Billing, located at an altitude of 5,000 feet, is a favorite destination for trekking and paragliding. Kangra district police chief Veer Bahadur said Gupta had been living in the area for the past four years for paragliding and trekking activities. The woman, he said, arrived from Pune a few days ago and left after a snowfall. “Preliminary investigation found that a group of four people, two of them women, set off in a car. When the car could not move beyond a point, they started walking. When the weather changed, two people in the group turned back. and “He returned to a safe place with the help of others there. But Gupta reportedly said that he knows the route and he, Pranita and the dog continued on their way,” the officer said.
The other members of the group had filed a missing person complaint after Gupta and Wala did not return for a long time. Shortly after, a search party was sent to search for them.
One of the rescue team members said they put two teams into action. The bodies were located three kilometers below the point from where the paragliders take off.
“This is a steep area and it gets very slippery during snowfall. It seems like they slipped and fell. They managed to get up once, but they slipped again,” he said. While he spoke, the German shepherd continued barking and crying next to the corpses. The bodies were handed over to the families after the autopsy.
Senior police officer Bahadur had a message for the tourists. “Kangra district is receiving heavy snowfall and the weather is changing rapidly. Therefore, any tourist who ventures out should be accompanied by a local resident or a guide who is knowledgeable about this area. The slopes are covered in snow and it is not possible for tourists to discover the route.” He said the phones are useless due to poor connectivity in the area. “Avoid going out, the weather is bad,” he added.