NELLORE:Malle Mastan Babu, noted mountaineer from Gandhi Jana Sangam village in Sangam mandal of the district, who had gone missing on March 24 while climbing the Andes in Chile, has been found dead.
According to sources, the Chilean army personnel who have been scouring the area for a week now, found the body of Mastan Babu in a snow-covered valley, at a depth of 6,000 feet from the spot where he fell off during the climb. However, they could not retrieve the body due to heavy snowfall in the area, the sources said and added that the Chilean government had apprised the Indian authorities of the tragedy via the Indian Embassy in Chile on Saturday and the same had been conveyed to Babu’s family.
A pall of gloom descended on the Gandhi Jana Sangam village on Saturday on receipt of the news of Mastan Babu’s tragic death, they said. “My brother’s death was caused by the inclement weather prevailing when he was climbing the mountain”, Mastan Babu’s sister Dr Dorasanamma told Express.
She said her family got an official message from the Union Home Ministry on Saturday confirming her brother’s death but hastened to add: “But, there is no clarification from the Chilean government when it will retrieve and hand over my brother’s body to the Indian authorities to be brought here”.
An inconsolable Mastan Babu’s mother Subbamma said she would receive a phone call from her son every day despite his busy schedule. He called me on March 23, the day before he started climbing, saying: ‘Amma nenu pothunnanu’ (Mummy, I am going). “That was the last call I received from him,” she said with tears in her eyes.
Malle Mastan Babu, who hailed from an ordinary family belonging to a downtrodden community, was one of the seven children of his parents. He was an electrical engineer by profession. He had joined the Central government service after completion of his engineering degree from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and a management degree from the Indian Institute of Management (IIM). He had quit his job in 2004 to pursue his hobby of mountaineering full-time. He went on to set a world record by climbing seven tallest mountains in 72 days. And his adventurous life ended on March 24.