CHENNAI/HASSAN: The 24-year-old software engineer from Chennai who went missing in a monsoon braving expedition in the dense forest of Sakleshpur in Hassan district of Karnataka was traced by the district police on Tuesday about 40 km away from where he had gone missing on Saturday. The police were assisted by revenue officials and Anti-Naxal Force personnel in the operation.
For almost two days, Srikanth Balaji made his way through the dense forest using his map and essentials of his trekking kit. According to the police, Srikanth, after being separated from the group, established internet contact with Kannada and Culture Department Secretary Manu Baligar via his laptop. Baligar in turn contacted Deputy Commissioner of Hassan V Anbu Kumar.
On information, the Superintendent of Police Ravi D Channannavar and his team reached Sakleshpur. They located Srikanth at the Bisle Reserve Forest alongside Hemavathi river.
The trek began from Sakleshpur and Srikanth went missing at Aramane Gudda, which is about 8 km from the start of the trail. The group set up their camps at Aramane Gudda and sent search parties in all directions. They camped at the spot until 11 am on Tuesday, which is when the police and forest officials reached them.
After being separated from the group, Srikanth kept walking with the help of his map, thinking that the others had proceeded without him. He followed the trail of the Hemavathi river and spent Saturday and Sunday night alone in the forest.
On Monday night, he reached Adahole where he sought shelter with the residents of a lone house. His hosts also gave him directions for reaching Uppinangadi.
Srikanth reached Uppinangadi Forest Check Post around 2.30 pm where he was rescued by the forest and police officials who brought him back to Sakleshpur.
The statements of all 16 members of the trekking party, including Peter Van Geit, were recorded at Sakleshpur range DSP’s office. Srikanth was then reunited with his father at Hassan District Police office.
The other members of the trekking group, were identified as software engineers Shyam (26) from Tirupur, Aravindh (27) from Cheruppaloor in KK District, Ganeshkumar (28) of Mudukulathur in Ramanathapuram district, G Gurumoorthi (29) from Chinnacheri in Vellore, Swati B (23), who belongs to Jaisalmer in Rajasthan, Nareshkumar (27) from Dharmapuri, Jayanthan (23) of Royapuram in Chennai, S Muthukumaran (27) from Anna Nagar in Chennai, R Sarankumar (24) of Navasakthi Nagar in Puducherry, Karthik Vijay Kumar (24) of Nanganallur in Chennai, Goutham Chelladorai (24) of T Nagar in Chennai, Aravind Vinod A S (30) from Chennai, A Srikanth Balaji from Numgabakkam, and CTC founder Peter Van Geit (42).