A hero’s welcome awaited the six UAE trekkers that arrived in Dubai late Tuesday night, after being incognito since the deadly 7.9-magnitude earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday.
Family members were counting on the six boys to reach Kathmandu later on Tuesday on a bus and board a flight bound for Dubai late Tuesday evening.
Speaking with Emirates 24|7 earlier, Chandrasen Gandhi, father of Sunil Gandhi (one of the missing six), said: “I spoke to them, three of the boys and they are fine and healthy. We have corresponded a few times over the phone, but the chats have been brief to reserve the battery until they fly out of there.
“We arranged passage for them on a flight bound for Dubai late Tuesday evening.”
Gandhi further added that the boys were not in harm’s way, reiterating they were healthy and had enough food and water supply to sustain them since Saturday. “Due to a network issue the boys stated they were unable to reach out to us, until now,” he added.
Brother Mohammed Fouzan Khan put up a post on Facebook, confirming Nihad Khan was also safe.
He added: “Nihad sent a WhatsApp audio note, he and his group are safe and will be returning back to Dubai as soon as possible; such an relief finally. Thanks everyone for all your prayers and support; it’s much appreciated.”
Thanzeem Rawther, sister of Thanwi Ibn Kassim, also shared the news, stating: “Three of the boys, Azhar, Nihad and Sunil, called their brother and dads and have informed all six are safe and fine in a village called Bahrabise - 12km from The Last Resort area.”
So they return and the family's are whole again...#OurBoysInNepal #OurBoysAreBackSafePosted by Adnan Raj on Tuesday, April 28, 2015
Earlier on Monday, family members of Thanwi Ibn Kassim, Hadil Haneef, Mohammed Azhar Ali, Mazhar Mohideen, Sunil Gandhi and Nihad Khan had received unconfirmed reports that a group from Dubai was secure with other guests staying at The Last Resort when the earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday. However, official word was still awaited at the time.
Early on Tuesday, a video posted on a community Facebook page for The Last Resort by stranded guest Anuj Poddar confirmed the six boys were safe at the hotel with others.
The families received phone calls from the boys around 10.30am UAE time on Tuesday.
Sunil's father, who had also been liaising with the Indian Embassy in Nepal, said: "I don’t think I can even describe or put into words the relief I am feeling right. We haven’t had a night’s rest since we lost contact with them, waking up at 4am every day to make calls to everyone."
So are future holiday plans for the boys on hold? Gandhi added: "It was a calamity that no one could have foreseen. For now, we just want our son home. That’s how far anyone needs to think."
In his post, Fouzan Khan joked: "No more holiday trips for a minimum of two years. Even the honeymoon we have decided the place to be Jabal Jais."
Other missing Dubai resident
Meanwhile, another Dubai resident, Sita Ashakrdian, who was also staying at the same resort when the earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday, is also aboard a bus bound for Kathmandu on Tuesday.
Emirates 24|7 received word of the Armenian-Syrian national whose family and friends lost contact with at the same time. They have confirmed she is safe and due to connectivity and low battery has been able to inform that she is headed towards the Nepal capital with other resort guests.
An update from the Gulf For Good UAE team on Tuesday also confirmed the eight climbers participating in the Everest Base Camp Challenge were safe.
They stated: “The group had spent yesterday night in Monjo. As per the plan, they start their trek to Lukla (a safe zone at an altitude of 2860 metres). The trek to Lukla is expected to take approximately seven to eight hours.
In our latest conversation with group rep Anne Edmondson, she said: ‘The group has shown exceptional courage and stayed calm in a difficult situation. Safety is paramount hence every decision we are taking is to ensure that everyone is safe. Everyone looks forward to being back in Dubai soon’.”