KUALA LUMPUR: The search and rescue (SAR) mission for Malaysian Everest 2023 (ME2023) climber Muhammad Hawari Hashim, who has been missing in the Everest mountains since May 19, ended a day early, today.

ME2023 team manager Ayu Wanirah Naharudin in a statement today informed that she received information from the head of the mission, Azim Afif Ishak stating that the drone used for the SAR operation was having technical issues with the photos and video footage recordings.

“This problem may be due to the cold weather, causing the drone difficulty to function properly after being used for the SAR mission for three consecutive days,“ she said.

Ayu Wanirah said that she and another ME2023 climber, Tiong Ling Yang were already in Kathmandu, Nepal, to examine the photos and videos that were sent prior to this.

“We will continue to examine the pictures and videos that have been recorded and if we get new leads, we will seek the advice of the Nepalese authorities and the Malaysian Embassy in Nepal,“ she said.

In addition to dealing with the drone problem, Ayu Wanirah said the SAR team was also facing issues with the helicopter operator company that had been appointed, when the company recalled its pilot to return to Germany.

“It made it difficult for them (the team) to continue the SAR mission which had only one day left to go, but they had to comply with the instructions due to safety reasons,“ she said.

Two drones were used in the SAR mission - the DJI Matrice 300 RTK and the DJI Mavic 3 - which were specially flown from Malaysia.

Muhammad Hawari’s SAR operation entered its 19th day today sicne he was reported missing on May 19 after leaving Camp Four at an altitude of 8,000 metres above sea level.

Muhammad Hawari was reported to have successfully conquered the summit of Everest the day before (Thursday, May 18) at 3.30 pm Nepal time.

ME2023 had previously also conducted ground SAR operations using the services and expertise of mountain rangers as well as aerial searches using helicopters. - Bernama