The body of Or Asraf, the Israeli hiker that went missing in Nepal, was found on Thursday in the Langtang region where he was last seen last weekend after a devastating earthquake struck the country, claiming the lives of more than 7,000 people.
A search and rescue team including volunteers from FIRST Israel, Hatzalah and ZAKA was helicoptered into the area and searched for Asraf in dangerous terrain where there was a threat of mudslides and while enduring constant rain and hail.
Or, who had been wounded during Operation Protective Edge where he fought with the Golani Brigade’s Egoz unit, had set out on a trek in Nepal’s Langtang region the morning the quake hit.
The Asraf family last heard from their son a week before the earthquake. Or had been moderately wounded during a battle in the Gaza City neighborhood of Saja’iya and later returned to his unit to complete his mandatory service. Four months ago, he set out for a post-army trip abroad and was scheduled to return to Israel in July.
On Thursday, Asraf’s father, Patrick, flew out early to Nepal to help search for him, along with some of his IDF colleagues from the Egoz comabt unit. A helicopter carrying members of the National Search and Rescue Unit took off Friday to search for the hiker.
The searches were conducted in a 5-km stretch of the Langtang trail, where several people reported having seen Or before the quake struck. The searchers advanced under extreme and deteriorating conditions, including landslides and mudslides.
During the search the team came across the bodies of both foreign travelers and local Nepalese killed in the quake. But Or’s body was not found, giving rise to suspicions that he had been buried in a landslide.
The searchers had been planning to return the following day with a new system, when his body was spotted by one of the teams. Or was identified by his Egoz commander, apparently by a mark on his body.
On Sunday, a Nepali police team pulled out the bodies of about 50 people, including some foreign trekkers in the northern district of Rasuwa, not far from the Langtang region where Asraf went missing.
Government administrator Gautam Rimal says the remains were dug up in the Langtang Valley in Rasuwa district, 60 kilometers (35 miles) north of Kathmandu.
They include Nepalese guides, hotel owners, workers and porters.
One of them was a French national and another an Indian. The identity and nationalities of the other foreigners were not immediately known.
The area, with a dozen inns near the trekking trail, was buried by a landslide after the April 25 earthquake.