Mario Menichetti RIP
German citizen Mario Menichetti (54) came to Nepal in October 2012, planning to trek alone the Dhorpatan Dolpo Trek. On October 26 he was last see at the Dhorpatan National Park's check point. He missed his planned departure date on November 10 and was reported missing. In May 2013 a large group of local people searching for mushrooms found his remains above his last camping place.
What we know now for sure is that Mario Menichetti had an accident while he was climbing around that area to make some photographs of the scenery. He must have tried hard to get out of that area and finally lost. Sometimes the mountains of Nepal are unforgiving if someone dares to get off the beaten path.
We sincerely share sorrows and grieve with Mario Menichetti’s dear wife Diana and wish her strength to overcome this tragic loss.
Search report by Jit Bahadur Masrangi Magar, Executive Director, SAR DOGS NEPAL (NFP)
SAR DOGS NEPAL conducted in total 3 search missions in the Phupal Phedi area.
The first search was taken between November 19 and December 1, on foot with our trained SAR dogs and supported by air with a helicopter search. During that time Mario's camping spot was discovered, but no single trace of himself even after excessive search with our dogs, locally hired helpers and game hunters from the hamlet of Dhule. The onset of winter with heavy snowfall and fast dropping temperatures forced us to stop this search mission. Mario's belongings found at the camping spot were later transferred to the German Embassy.
The spot where Mario's tent was found
Meanwhile we had distributed leaflets in Nepalese language with a photograph of Mario Menichetti to all the hamlets and small villages alongside the entire trekking area, promising a reward of Nepalese Rupees 100,000 (approx US$ 1200.00) for any helpful clue which would lead to his recovery dead or alive. The local police posts in the vicinity of the trekking route were also informed about this.
A second attemp was planned by the end of March 2013 because in early spring when the snow would recede the local peolpe would start to go up again to high pastures in search for the Yarchaguba mushroom. Our hope was that with the help of these collectors we finally would find him. But this search mission had to be abandoned already after a very brief visit to the target area because of extreme bad weather that was unusual for the time of the year.
We had the strong indication that Mr. Menichetti’s remains must be closer to the place where we had found his campsite. The spot was very difficult to reach. Easy to get in but definitely very hard to get out, which is typical for high mountain gorges in the Himalayas. We were wondering why he had set up camp in that strange place away from the trekking path. Speculations were ripe about that there may have been foul play with him. Then again why would muggers leave his stuff there for everyone to see?
The SAR DOGS NEPAL team from the third search
By May the snow finally receded and up to 1000 local people had gathered around the area in search for the Yarchaguba mushroom. They made a huge campsite and there was a temporary police post in that campsite just a bit below from the Hamlet of Dhule. On May 14 we did the final search attempt. We passed through the campsite and went further north to scan the area with our cadaver dog team. Our food supply shrank fast and due to so many peolpe up there we could not purchase new supply at the few local groceries down from Dhule. We had to turn back and asked our local hired helpers to continue the search till further notice. With this search attempt also our financial reserves had melted to zero because we worked on for 3 more days above our financial limit.
Ironically the day after we reached our home base in Lamjung the remains of Mario were found by the many locals in the Phupal Phedi area. All his personal valuables were still with his remains, incuding his camera, his wallet with a significant amount of cash and his German passport. This fact ended also the speculations that he may have been robbed and murdered.
Notes of thanks:
- To all the people who gave a donation to Rettungshunde für Nepal e.V. in Germany (Search & Rescue Dogs for Nepal registered charity) who made this search mission possible.
- Their president Mrs. Daniela Neika who is our greatest supporter in cause and helped us personally with her experience and valuable presence during our first search mission.
- The local police of Dhorpatan and Dunai for their effective and kind co-operation.
- Our local helpers, guides and new made friends in Rukum District.
- The Superintended of Police Shree Ishor Babu Karki from the head office of the CIB in Kathmandu who personally flew with me to Dhorpatan hunting reserve to assist us with bringing back the remains of Mr. Menichetti to Kathmandu for post mortem.
- Fishtail Air Helicopter Service (P) LTD for helping to discover the campsite of Mario Menichetti and bringing our SAR dog teams home in time from the area when winter gave them cold hands and feet.
- Mountain Air Helicopter Service (P) LTD for conducting the first surveillance flight with our logistic officer in order to make a video from the entire area and for conducting the final flight to bring Mr. Menichetti’s remains to Kathmandu.
Jit Bahadur Masrangi Magar
SAR DOGS NEPAL (NFP)