The flyer mission has now been completed and the SAR Dogs Nepal team has returned safely. We have received a report from Karna and would like to share this with you. The photos are made by Karna himself. SAR Dogs have been in different villages nearby and on the Dhaulagiri and have come to something after Italian Basecamp (over 3600m).
People involved from SAR Dogs Nepal (in random order): Jit Bahadur Masrangi Magar (director), Laxman Chaudhary, Karna Bahadur Dura, Bikram Ranabhat and porter Man Bahadur Gharti. And also Prinsa, 7 month old labrador.
On May 24th, SAR Dogs Nepal Team drove to Beni from Pokhara. The team met with police S.I. Hira Thapa Magar at District Police Station, Beni and updated about Christiaan’s case and also gave some flyers. He told us that he will spread flyers among other police posts. After this we drove up to Tatopani. On the way we gave flyers to the locals, students and hung flyers in public places and houses. After lunch in Tatopani, we drove to Dharapani (before Takam), spread flyers to the people and hung on wall of the houses, spoke with locals if they have found some stuffs as seen on flyer. After this we drove to Takam and met with Police from Police Post, Takam. Most of the police from this region were new so didn’t know much about Christiaan. After conversation with Takam police we headed to Muna Village. We spread some flyers to the youth whom we met at school of Muna Village and to the locals.
Karna (right) with a policeman of Tatopani
We drove next to Mudi Village where the new road ends then the team splitted. Jit and Laxman drove back to Pokhara and Karna, Bikram and Porter continued their way towards Mudi Village. After walking for an half and hr we stopped at Mudi Village. We spread flyers to the people we met. We also met with a German guy and gave him the flyer. He was planning to go back to Darbang. We had only very short talk with him because he only asked us for the way to Darbang. From Mudi, we continued going towards Naura. We stopped at Naura for Lunch. We gave some flyers to the owner of Naura hotel so that he can also spread flyers to other people. After lunch we started going. We reached Bagar and planned to stay there. We visited other houses in that area and spread flyers.
Villagers from Mudi looking at flyer hung on Wooden wall of a small local shop.
We started going towards Doban. We knew that the hotel in Italian Basecamp is still opening because there are more than 55 people are constructing the foot trail up to Swiss Camp. We talked with people we met with, spread flyers to them. We stopped at Dhapcha for lunch. The weather was bit bad. It was slightly raining before we reach Doban. We reached Doban and stayed there that night.
We moved towards Italian Basecamp. The weather on this day was good. We found that the river’s water level was high as compared to last time. Though the locals repaired the foottrail, in some places it was damaged by the rain water. We stopped before Sallaghari where we met with a local Buffalo Herder. We gave him flyer and asked him if he or other people from that area found some stuffs as shown on picture on flyer. He didn’t heard or found anything.
Local Buffalo Herder next to Sallaghari area where we stopped by for short break.
After a short break, we walked towards Italian Basecamp. We reached Italian basecamp around 1:30 PM. After a short rest, we walked towards Swiss Camp to see the area. Unfortunately weather became worse, started raining so we returned back to Italian basecamp. But we took several pictures from below Swiss camp.
Landslide area just above Italian camp with new route.
The river view below Swiss camp with new foot trail
The locals made the route much better than before and in some parts they had changed the route. We met with all the locals in the evening. We gave flyers to them and told about Christiaan and what he had brought with him for the expedition.
Locals at Italian basecamp gathered in the evening after they returned back from work.
We talked with the owner from the Italian Basecamp. He told us that there had happened an accident last October. A Nepali porter fell down from the Icy cliff which is below Japanese camp and washed away by the river. He was recovered only after a month nearby Swiss camp. The body was stuck in between two big stone and the Helicopter came and took him to Kathmandu. We found much snow this year in this region. The owner from the Italian Basecamp said that there is much snow above Swiss camp. We also noticed that there is much ice above the river next to Italian camp.
We returned back from Italian Basecamp. We came up to Bagar on that day. On the way we met with other Indian tourists. We told them about Christiaan too so that they can look around for Christiaan’s belongings. We stayed at Bagar.
We moved down towards Naura from Bagar. We met with a family from Mudi who went for collecting Yashragumba (Himalayan medicinal herbs) in the Himalaya. We informed them about Christiaan too. At Naura we had our lunch then continued till Kaleni and stayed there. On the way we met with several people from these areas so informed them about Christiaan and his belongings. Most of them knew about this case.
A couple who were returning to their home after collecting Yashragumba got our flyers.
We walked towards Darbang. We spread flyers to the people whom we met on the way. We reached Darbang and went to the Police station. We gave the overleft flyers to them so that they can spread to the locals too. The officer was happy to help us. From Darbang we drove by local taxi to Tatopani and then had our lunch. Then we went by Taxi to Beni and visited the Beni Police Station again. We updated them about Christiaan after this we drove to Pokhara by our jeep.
While we were talking about Christiaan and his belongings to the locals, some locals advised us if we can provide rewards incase someone find belongings of Christiaan. There may also come legal issue regarding the stuffs finding. People may become victim of it so mostly don’t showed interest in search of the stuffs while they are on their daily life work around that area, specially the river banks. But some said that they will inform Beni police or to SAR Dogs Nepal if they find any stuff related to Christiaan. We hope this may bring positive result sooner or later.
Links to earlier posts on this website about the area:
It’s almost 3 years ago since we last heard from Christiaan.
The past months it kept us (friends and family) busy. What if they find him or his gear and nobody knows how to reach us?
That is why we made flyers with pictures of Christiaan and his gear. In Nepalese and English. So that if someone finds something, (s)he know who to contact.
Michel, good friend of Christiaan, had a role in the two searches, together with other friends. He is now traveling in Nepal with his family.
Michel: “I wanted to go back to Nepal to show the country to my family. It is such a beautiful country and the people are very friendly and hospitable. Also I wanted to see more of the country because I did not have time for that earlier.”
He carried 1000 flyers with him. Karna & SARdogs will distribute these flyers further in Nepal.
Also Michel saw Suraj from Saron again. Both Karna and Suraj were of great importance during the searches.
We hope to be able to report more news on this site one day. We never stop hoping…
Michel and SARdogs with the flyers
Hotel Penguin in Pokhara, where Michel and other friends stayed during the searches: on the right the poster from 3 years ago, on the left the new flyer.
Two years ago I had this idea to go to Kathmandu with a billboard with a picture of Christiaan. Which was then discouraged from various sides. A few months ago that thought came back to me strongly. The first one I told it, responded with: ‘Do it!’. And the plan became reality. Alone? Or with whom? I went alone. I made inquiries about the best time, where to stay and things like that. I only told it to a few people. Why? Everyone has his own thoughts and I wanted to do it my way. It was a clear plan to me. Walking around with a billboard in Kathmandu, handing out flyers. So I could inform tourists, climbers and all who would be going to the mountains about Christiaan.
October 17th, my daughter-in-law, granddaughter and a good friend took me to the airport and saw me off.
In Kathmandu was a taxi driver waiting with a sign with my name. He took me to the guesthouse where I would be staying for ten nights. It was a good and simple place. I felt safe. Also thanks to the angels around me. Already the first day I walked on the streets of the Tamel. Because of the photo of Christiaan many – mainly Nepalese – were interested. Most of them took photographs, which they placed on Facebook!
When I returned to the guesthouse, it turned out that a pastor of the Church of the Nazarene had already been there to greet me.
I had a strong desire to share my adventures with friends and family and so the WhatsApp group app started. What a joy such a group. So much sympathy and so much kindness. Many thanks to all!
That’s how it went every day. Many conversations, many questions. Not so much by the tourists. They had their eyes on what they wanted to do. When they almost went home, they were more interested. The Nepalese always asked how long he was missing. When I said two years, they shook their head. Until I got the idea to say: two years, five months and six days. They had no answer to that!
I met people from the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, France, Spain, Great Britain, Australia and New Zealand. Every meeting was special, but very special was the meeting with four Australian ladies. One of them said: ‘I would do the same’. Two Dutch girls and a Spaniard joined us. We were standing in the sun and there was so much sympathy, so much cordiality, so much kindness, so many emotions … At the end of this meeting there was an international group hug. The Spaniard, the only male, asked: May I participate too? Of course! What a precious moment!!
In the meantime I had met the pastor and his son. The father had to go to a conference, but I was allowed to consult the son at all times, which I did a few days later. I wanted to see something of the surroundings. He took me to two temples. A Buddhist and a Hindu. At the first one I saw remnants of the earthquake. In the second, there were plenty of cremations going on. Would it have smelled like that in the incinerators during the Second World War?
The contact with the son, Anjan, was good. A very sympathetic young man. Still a student. At the end of the week we went to a church together, just on the outside of Kathmandu. There I was asked to tell something and he translated. This was new for him, for us. We had a good click.
During the week I had a meeting with Karna, from SARdogs, you find him mentioned earlier on the site, and Suraj, who took great responsibility in the search for Christiaan, two years ago.
Karna also appears to be a drawing and painting talent. Very special to meet them.
Picture with Karna & Suraj
I don’t know.
With God all things are possible. He is the Almighty!
It’s almost 2 years ago since Christiaan left for his trip to Dhaulagiri mountain in the Himalayas, Nepal. Unfortunately he is still missing since May 16 2016.
Everyone has his own way to cope with the missing of Christiaan, with his own conclusions. What everybody has in common however, is the love for Christiaan, who has left such an unforgettable impression with so many people..
Looking forward: keep the search alive It’s tough to keep the search alive when there are no specific ideas for new search operations. After such a long time it’s impossible to search for trails. We do hope that if something (like trails or gear) of Christiaan will be found, the local people or trekkers will link it to Christiaan. And that we of course hear of it. There will be people passing through the area in the trekking seasons. We want to make sure that everybody there knows about the missing of Christiaan. We will spread a document with his photo, information and gearlist to different places in the area such as the police station in Beni and Italian Camp on the Dhaulagiri Mountain. He is also mentioned at www.missingtrekker.com.
Want to help us? Do you want to help us spread the information about Christiaan in the area or do you have other tips, please let us know through the contact page.
Yesterday evening Pieter, Ruben and Michel joined Radio 1 for an interview about the continuation of the search for Christian.
Pieter: “Now that the rainy season is over, we will have a very short time in which we can search again, before real winter starts and it will start snowing. Then we won’t be able to search for many months and it might take years before we find something which might help us to make some progress. This time, we really hope to find something so we can put this behind us.”
The past couple of weeks we’ve researched how we can continue looking for Christiaan. After being advised by several parties (among others Signi and forensic expert Frank van de Goot) we are sure that the best way to find Christiaan is by starting to search with dogs. We’ve decided to follow this path and we’re researching the possibilities which different parties can offer us.
The search will be prepared the next couple of days and will be implemented at the beginning of November. A group of Dutch friends will travel to Nepal to assist with the search. This time a camera crew from a national broadcaster will also travel with the group to make a portrait of Christiaan.
We really hope and pray that Christiaan is still alive and being taken care of in a cloister or alive in some other way which we don’t know anything about yet. However, with this search we choose to research the most plausible cause, which is a fatal accident on the gletsjer while returning to the Italian camp. We hope to find Christiaan and to discover what has happened.
There is some urgency because the time window to succesfully perform a search is limited. The trekking season has opened again. The chance that the first snow will start to fall in November is quite big, which means that the search will become more dangerous. This gives us a few weeks from now until the first week of November to carry out a succesfull search.
When we started the first search we were very impressed with the involvement of so many friends, acquaintances and colleagues who’ve made sure that the first search was feasible through the crowdfunding act. We’re happy that from a part of that donated money we can also pay for a large part of the costs. To make the search more realistic we’ve however had to increase the target amount with about 11.000 euros to 73.000 euroes.
With a donation you make it possible to create favorable circumstances for the search dogs. Think about good transportation through helicopters and a search period of about 4 to 5 days. The Dutch friens who are joining will pay for their own flight, but we want to support them in costs for staying their and communication costs. For an overview of the costs we direct you to the donate page.
We’re very happy for all the different ways you show your support, even when it has been more quiet the past period. The next period we will try to keep you updated as much as possible through the website. We hope you keep praying for Christiaan’s family and for this period of the new safe search where we hope to find Christiaan.
Resumed discussion Due to the monsoon, it has been fairly quiet for the past months when it comes to the search for Christiaan. Karna – Sardogs foreman – was in The Netherlands during the past few days and we took advantage of the opportunity to brainstorm with friends and two other parties (Rettungshunde fur Nepal and Signi) about a continuation of the search.
Start continued search mid October Good weather is a prerequisite to be able to start, but the weather around Dhaulagiri is unfortunately still very poor. As far as we can tell at this moment, it may be possible to commence a search during the second half of October. The focus of the search will be on the glacier. An attempt will be made to search for the smell of a corpse as well as to pick up the trail of Christiaan after all.
Search using dogs
The deployment of dogs is the obvious way of continuing the search. Forensic expert Frank van de Goot has discussed various possibilities with us, but holds the opinion that deploying dogs is the logical course of action. During the days on which Paul was on the mountain with the team of dogs, they were limited in their deployment due to the difficulties the terrain presented to the animals. This means that the use of dogs could be valuable, but will also need careful coordination and possibly support by ourselves on site.
Search possibly supported by friends/media
Some friends are considering traveling to Nepal to support the continued search. No one has confirmed conclusively yet. Several media institutions have also expressed interest in joining us with a camera team. We are currently still considering this option.
Impressive to see how everyone still sympathizes with us. Despite the holiday season and the decreasing amount updates on this website.
The piece of helmet has been researched. The results of the DNA research are here. The conclusion is: The DNA profile on the helmet has not the required 50% match with the DNA profile of his mother.
Pathologist Frank van de Goot says: “That means that the helmet has not been touched in such a way that a trace is left behind by Christiaan, or that because of transportation (water, rain, time, UV, mold and microbial activity) the profile that’s been present, is no longer detectable. “
In other words: it can still be the helmet of Christiaan, but his DNA profile is not detectable.
Meanwhile we prepare ourselves to see if and how we can continue the search when the monsoon is over.
Do you like to help or do you have any tips, please let us know through the tips page.
So many kind people around you.
So much compassion. Impressive.
Often the question: How are you?
The answer was invariably: Yes and no.
Still one moves from hope to despair,
from despair back to a little bit of hope,
from a little bit of hope to a very little bit of hope.
The words that came to me regularly were words by David from one of his Psalms: For everything, however complete, I have seen an ending.
And then I think that for all the efforts – however complete – to find Christiaan, an ending has been seen. You have been able to read how many efforts were made.
The result: nothing. Only a helmet fragment.
But the Psalm goes on thus: But … Your order is unlimited.
And then we keep on praying. Many of us. And I have (still) not found an answer.
Neither, I think, have others.
And the days creep on.
And another small ray of hope. The result? Still nothing.
Then, a request comes along to provide DNA. That took place the day before yesterday. It could be that my DNA matches the DNA they found on the helmet fragment.
We will hear the results next week.
Margreet, Christiaan’s mother.
Margreet, after Christiaan’s depart at Schiphol Airport
It’s slowly getting more quiet. There are less messages, less ideas for further search. Last week, we came back from Nepal as the last group. All nine friends have returned now, landed at Schiphol airport, without Christiaan. Life goes on.
Unfortunately, at the moment it is too dangerous to continue searching around the Swiss camp/Italian camp. So with a group of Dutch people we decided to stop looking in he area of Beni. In any case, chances that Christiaan has arrived there are very small. The search by Westerners may also backfire. The same questions you ask, they will ask you.
Our presence in Nepal during the last weeks enabled us to create very good contacts with the right people over there. The locals are well aware of the disappearance of Christiaan. If tips come in, we can ask Saron to further investigate. However, we should review all tips we get critically. The amount of $ 500 triggers people to respond, regardless of whether they saw something. If we promised more money, all of Nepal would start calling us.
And what now? Do we keep searching when the monsoon is over in September? Who? How? With what kind of techniques? These are the questions we are considering right now. If you have any ideas that might help us, please let us know through our tips page.
Frank van de Goot is a forensic pathologist and is specialized in the field of reconstruction and the cause of breaking patterns. He has investigated the fragment found on the mountain by Paul. He has answered three questions.
1. Did the fragment originate from a helmet?
2. If so, could this be Christiaan’s helmet?
3. Can anything be said about how this fragment came to be?
Because Christiaan owns a Petzl Sirocco: EPP helmet, the fragment has been compared to a new identical helmet. Based on the comparison of openings, the nature of the material and the color, it was determined with probability bordering certainty that the fragment was part of a Petzl Sirocco: EPP helmet.
The fragment could have come from Christiaan’s helmet. Investigations have determined that the fragment has been exposed to outside air for less than three months. It is also very well possible that this period has been one or a couple of weeks.
DNA investigations currently taking place could provide more certainty about whether or not the fragment was part of Christiaan’s helmet.
Based on investigation of the break edges, it was determined that the helmet was compressed, in forward-backward direction. This caused the helmet to be distorted sufficiently for it to break. The lack of skin cells and blood make the assumption that Christiaan was wearing the helmet less likely. This can however not be excluded. Other possible causes for fractures like this include a fall on top of the helmet (during which the helmet is not on the head), a fall of the helmet or the helmet getting stuck between, for example, moving rocks.
We are meeting each other at the Yak hotel in Beni. Ruben has gone to meet Paul this morning and I expect them to arrive along with two guys from Sardog. John and Ben are coming from Tukuche. They went to the army in Jomsom yesterday and have spent the night at Patrick from Dutch Bakery in Tukuche. They will be arriving shortly as well. For the first time, all five will be in one hotel. I am looking forward to this and can’t wait to hear their stories.
The previous days have been filled mainly with taking small taxis over impossible roads. There are generally three roads crossing the valley. The road from Beni towards Marpha and Jomsom, Marpha is where the trail towards Base camp of the Dhaulagiri starts. The road from Beni towards Tacam, the trail from Base camp via Italian camp back down the mountain runs along part of this road. And the road from Beni towards Pokhara. One can take a bus or airplane to Katmandu from Pokhara, where the international airport is located.
Flyers in hand and with the taxi driver’s help, who spoke some English, we stopped at every house, in every hamlet and at every village.
“This is our friend, he is missing. Have you seen him? Can we leave a flyer here?”
We received all the cooperation the local people had to offer. They listened intently and discussed things among themselves. Sometimes, we were redirected to other people. We were allowed to post flyers nearly everywhere. At hospitals and police stations, at the place where people meet in the village (often a tree) and at tourist checkpoints or in the local buses. Sometimes people would think they recognized Christiaan, giving us hope. Each time, the track led to a dead end…
The situation is known in the valley. Thank you, Karna and his colleagues at Sardog. Thank you, Facebook.
The search in Nepal brought together hope and despair. But in a weird way also a privileged knowing.
Privileged to know Christiaan as a friend.
Privileged to be doing this with so many people.
For that reason, Christiaan!
Christiaan, thank you!
“When was the last time you saw something for the first time?”
When we realized that – even for Christiaan – things had been silent for too long and we decided to travel to Nepal ourselves, Robin of the NKBV (Royal Dutch Mountaineering Society) said that he advised against going, but that he understood. I agreed with him, the facts weren’t on our side and what would we be able to achieve there, without a plan, and never having been in Nepal before. We were realistic and hopeful when we started the trip. Even before we departed, we were supported by a rich network of acquaintances in Europe and Nepal who were able to connect us to the right people locally. We were reaching the limit of the insurance budget, and you collected funds for a new budget, and the app group put forward ideas like using a dog team. Within a short period of time, we found the right people to help us. A day after we arrived, we were on our way to Dhaulagiri, and although I too wanted to take out my hiking boots and get as close as possible, I found my place surrounded by laptop and telephones, together with everyone in the valley, and Felix, John and Ben who also came to help search.
It’s good to know that we were able to search alongside and to connect with so many special people in Nepal, both familiar faces and new ones. We experienced a great deal of personal involvement. The rescue team SARON, SARDogs dog team, MAF Nepal, police in Beni, Mountain Warfare Army School in Jomsom, Air Zermatt, embassies, hotel owners, taxi drivers, helicopter pilots, hostel owners and many others. I’d like to acknowledge by name: Karna, Suraj, Pemba, Tchering, Patrick, Gagan, Kari, Gerco, Stan, Menno, Gerald and Spiderman (Paul might know his real name). The concern and involvement from climbers in the Netherlands, both famous and less well-known, was also a special experience.
It’s very difficult to understand what happened. We were able to get answers to questions that had been raised by various possible and impossible scenarios, both from other climbers and from organizations on the mountain. And by seeing the area with our own eyes, and feeling it. But the reality is also that we don’t know where Chris is. That is very hard.
Whether or not the trip was useful isn’t something that crosses our minds. Even though we’ve returned without Chris, it was the only and best thing we could do, being there ourselves. For Chris, for all of you, and for ourselves. Over the last days, I spoke with Paul about what a strange luxury and privilege it was for us, to be there and to not have to worry about work. I want to thank you all for that. Though we’re missing Chris, it makes all the difference to me to have been there together. The consul told us that, during her 20 years in Nepal, she’d never witnessed a comparable gathering of initiatives, energy and professionalism. That doesn’t bring back Chris, but I know that it’s significant.
It was very good to meet Pieter, Sander, Michel and HP a few days before we left, and to spend time together. It was a hard day, leaving and adjusting to being back home, and shifting gears from energetic endeavors to a period of rest.
“When was the last time you saw something for the first time?”, is written on one of my most important climbing photos with Chris. Since he took me to Switzerland 15 years ago and I first laid eyes on the four-thousanders in the Alps, this was at the core of heading out on the trails. After a few days of bad weather in Nepal, I saw the 8,000 meter high peaks on the horizon for the first time and had that same sensation.
In the time ahead, I hope that everyone will see new things.
Those mornings in Nepal, when it was still nighttime in the Netherlands and a flight was about to depart, this melody and text connected me to everyone at home and in Nepal and with the certainty that everything would be okay, now or in the future.. – https://youtu.be/-025lhWCXLE
The past few weeks Paul together with a big group of friends searched for Christiaan in Nepal. He wrote the following message after his search.
Dear friends, the feelings I have about being back are mixed. I wanted to bring Chris back to us, to not leave Nepal without him. To bring my good friend back, plan new things with him. But here I am again, without Chris.
Only a small piece of orange helmet gave me the sudden hope that Chris was close. I got scared. Hadn’t I seen Chris with one of those helmets on one of our trips? In the area where he had walked, by the river, on the ice berg, I often felt him so close. But no matter how hard I looked , I never found him. I searched along the river but after the twelfth time I slowly started finding the same plastic scraps, the same candy wrappers and strange stones as the previous times. How could I find all these small useless things but I couldn’t find Chris, his bag, his sleeping bag?
So many scenes played in my mind, I have to get a grip, what’s the most logical? Chris, where have you walked, which choices did you make, which choice would I make? Where could you have slipped, where was there a rockfall, were there any crevices, where could you have landed in the river? From simple to extreme illogical paths entering the valley, we searched. No matter how many times we searched the river, under, next to and past the rocks, I found no further signs of Chris. Even the various teams with which I climbed up didn’t know where to look anymore. Everything between Daulagiri base-camp and Italian base-camp had been searched many times. The whole valley to the road had been walked, all the villages visited…
In that aspect, I feel a little at peace, the luxury of having seen with my own eyes that with so many hands and eyes, at this moment, he could not be found.
Thankfully, most hands and eyes are not back in Holland, but still there. The local residents in the whole area know about Chris. They have promised to call us or the police with any new sign or indication of him. They will be there the following week, month, year and know about our situation in the case that something is found or maybe even if a Chris comes by the village one day.
Without the endless effort and support of our family and friends back home and the financial support we would have never been able to organize a search such as this one in Nepal. Without the local support of Ruben, Felix, Ben, John, Pieter, Sander, Michel, HP, all contacts and organizations in Nepal, I would have never climbed that mountain and there would not be any flyers or info about our Chris in that whole region in Nepal.
I went to Nepal because I know that Chris would have done the exact same for me. That Chris would have forgotten time and expense to find me. It was Chris himself who taught me many things that I unexpectedly turned out needing these past weeks in the search of my good friend.
I am very sad not to have Chris in my arms, but I feel happy and privileged that I was allowed and able to search for him.
I wish everyone, especially Margreet, Pieter and especially Christiaan himself much strength.
Yesterday, Paul Ruben, Felix and Ben arrived safely in the Netherlands. Paul and Ruben stayed in Nepal for around three weeks. Felix and Ben around two. Paul’s focus was on searching between base-camp and Italia camp. The other men focused more on the villages surrounding Dhaulagiri and the guiding of and agreements with the local authorities. Pieter, Sander, Michel and Herman Peter are still in Nepal. In the mountains, active searching is currently not possible due to the bad weather but still continues in the surrounding villages.
After days of waiting and bad weather, the special unit of the Nepalese Army decided to abort the mission. This morning we received a phone call from the colonel with this message. The helicopter who was waiting left this morning to Kathmandu. How frustrating is it to see the weather improve this morning, just hours after the helicopter left…
Message from Pieter: “Today was a day of mostly having to wait. In the morning, waiting for the helicopter, for good weather, and on that we were out of luck. We did some looking around in Beni. After that, we went to meet Paul for a distraction. We had a nice hike, experienced what it is like to hike in this area.
Fortunately, we met up with Paul and we drank a glass of coke together. And after that, we went on in two cars, back to the hotel. At the hotel, we joined SARdogs, the army and Paul to look at the map together. We got feedback from SARdogs. There were unfortunately unable to find anything. We can never exclude the possibility that the confused man was Christiaan. But we have not found any real evidence to go on with a further search. SARdogs really went all the way, into the bush, by foot, where cars cannot go, looking for clues on whether or not Christiaan was walking around there. But they could not find anything, and as far as we can tell, they were thorough. Tomorrow will be a very exciting day, as the army helicopter has been standing at the ready for a couple of days now. But the army’s kindness is coming to an end. If the weather does not clear up tomorrow morning or tomorrow afternoon, the major will unfortunately be unable to fly a helicopter with his troops. We hope and pray that the weather will be good tomorrow. If it is during the morning, Paul can fly along for a while to point things out.”
On a day without a lot of news (the army still can’t fly), it is nice to be together with friends.
Pieter, Michel and Sander arrived in Beni. Felix, Ben and Ruben are there as well. Paul is coming back from his mountain hike and will arrive in Beni today.
We can see our surroundings with our own eyes. Contact with the army and Saron is possible by speaking directly with the army command and Saron command. This all helps in our plans to be together physically as well.
The last few days we have heard rumours from various local people about a confused man who appears to look like Christiaan. Obviously we immediately carried out an extensive investigation. Further analysis proved that it appeared to concern two different persons and it also didn’t give us useful information to look further into.
It might be good to realize that westerners tend to “get confused a little” in a country such as Nepal. Moreover, just like we think that all Nepalese people look alike, they think the same about us westerners.
Since we want to investigate every single option and we can’t fully exclude the possibility that one of the confused men is Christiaan, we asked a team of sardogs to further investigate this matter. On their Facebook page they give updates on their search. Questioning the locals requires a specific approach. The Sardogs write that:
“They will walk along the way again and ask in every village for witnesses, if they have seen a person like Christiaan. In past days, some said they had seen a tourist like him, but we have to verify this. It is always better if a Nepali asks these questions than a foreigner. On the countryside, many people don´t speak English, especially the women. On other hand, Nepali sometimes feel uncomfortable to give negative answers to guests. Others may give wrong answers because they wish to get the reward. That´s why better our team will ask them at eye level.”
At this moment, Ruben is with the special Nepalese army unit and was unfortunately unable to fly this morning due to bad weather. They decided to head for a lower area in which it was easier for the helicopter to pick them up. Unfortunately, the helicopter was unable to fly at all today. The photo above demonstrates well that it was, mildly put, somewhat of a challenge to reach the other area near Beni.
If you are praying for the search, could you please pray specifically for (temporary) better weather, so that the men of the army are at least able to reach the location and actually start the search?
A specialised unit of the Nepalese army (Nepal Army’s High Altitude and Mountain Warfare Training Academy) has been committed to the search for Christiaan for the past few days. At this moment they can finally start!
Tomorrow the weather was nice enough for a chopper to fly from Kathmandu to Pokhara and to continue to Jomsom with a stop inbetween because of the bad weather. In a second attempt Jomson was reached. At the Army school of mountain warfare the unit will now receive a briefing and plans will be made on how the search can be continued. The latest news is that tomorrow they will head into the mountains. People missing in Nepal isn’t unusual, but getting the help of the army is very unusual. Because of this we are very happy with everybody who worked hard to make sure this specialised unit from the army is going to help us in our search.
In orange is the leader of the basis. In red Suraj of Saron.
The past few days have been silent. No messages have been posted on the website, there are no pictures of men looking for their friend in Nepal. There is just silence and every now and then the ticking of the counter on the website, moving up to 105%.
It’s a silence that has been disappointing. After the part posted that they found Christiaans helmet, surely it couldn’t last long anymore? But the pictures we got of the helmet on Whatsapp stayed in the private group. Suddenly we got the thought… what if this was the last thing to be found of Christiaan’s? It felt too painful to share this thought.
An uneasy silence was created for the past few days because of multiple letdowns. At 05:00 a message come in with the next words:”The weather is too bad to fly today.” A hopeful analysis of satellite images which didn’t give any new real information. A new day and again no possibility to fly. The research on the helmet which could last for days. A continuous flow, surprise and frustration in a completely different culture where saying no is not an option. The rain continues to tick, while everybody gets more and more tired.
With the passing of the days and the knowledge that the chance that Christiaan will be found alive is getting smaller and smaller, the first cracks are starting to appear in the ”tacking things” humor everybody is in. No matter how hard you want it, it just isn’t possible to keep running as fast as you can. Slowly we are switching from a sprint to a marathon.
Today Pieter got in the plane and explained it the following way: ”Our goal is clear. We are going there to take Christiaan back with us. But we are realistic as well. The moesson has started and it is getting more dangerous to search. The chance that we will discover during this journey we can’t search any further is also there. In that case we will have to return, get back to our lives and make plans to continue the search in the new season.”
The past few days have been quit. It’s an uneasy quite fed by disappointments, but for everything there is, there is also an hour…. There is a moment to be silent, and a moment to speak.
Today is a moment to say: ”Christiaan, we will continue our search and we will find you!”
On Saturday night Pieter, Sander and Michel got on the plane to Nepal. They will support the men over there who left earlier to look for Christiaan. Herman Peter will leave on Tuesday to help the team.
For the past few days, we’ve been trying to get Paul back up, back into the area around Swiss camp. This is the place where we have found the piece of Christiaan’s helmet (see image).
Paul arrived on site on Friday and will continue the search today, joined by two porters.
It took quite some effort getting Paul back into the area. At first, the plan was for Paul to start at the same time as the army, but unfortunately the deployment of a special Nepalese army unit is taking longer than expected.
Ruben and Paul went to find out on Friday morning at the Pokhara airfield whether a direct helicopter flight from Pokhara was an option. Fortunately, they were in luck! A helicopter came back from Jomsom, willing to make a stop to pick up Paul and the two porters and carry them to the area. The two porters speak English and were fit. At first, the pilot only wanted to land at Italian camp, but when it became clear that there was insufficient visibility, Paul was dropped off at Swiss camp. The three of them will be able to visit all areas of interest around Swiss camp. We hope to be able to get support in our search from the Nepalese army soon. The army has by now pledged their commitment, but the actual start of the search is taking a while.
We are deeply touched by the large number of donations that have been coming in over the past couple of days to help with the search for Christiaan. One particular generous donation has even allowed us to exceed 100% funding, and we are currently well above our funding goal.
The donations allowed us to expand the search effort on several points.
Helicopter flights Two additional flights have been carried out in order to execute a search by air and to transport the team of mountaineers to the site.
Nepalese army While we are writing this, the Nepalese army is ready to be deployed in the search for Christiaan. A specialized unit will perform a reconnaissance flight, and based on the gathered information determine how they can best support us in the search effort. The foundation only pays for the transport costs and food for the personnel.
Online search Through a Facebook campaign we reached over 1.2 million people (the majority of which are currently living in Nepal or have visited it) and asked them for tips. All leads were followed up on and taken into consideration in planning the searches. When the team was handing out flyers in nearby villages, they were regularly surprised by people who, despite living in the middle of nowhere, were already aware of the missing.
Analyzing satellite images We were able to purchase satellite images and had them analyzed by a specialized company in order to discover changes in the terrain. This information will be used for planning the search.
Reward We will reward anybody who locates Christiaan with 500 dollar. This may not sound like much, but to a Nepalese person this would amount to the better part of a year’s salary. Issuing a bigger reward would be beyond the point and might even evoke future aggression towards foreigners.
(Communication) costs in Nepal Setting up a a major search effort in a far away country like Nepal calls for a great deal of communication, along with the corresponding telephone costs. The friends who have taken part in the local search, however, have paid their own travel expenses.
Website and setting up the foundation We received a lot of financial support for setting up the foundation, building the website, and for the donation module. However, it was not possible to do this entirely free of costs. We are nevertheless very grateful for how we have been supported in this way as well.
10% donation to charities in Nepal The uncertainty and pain that we felt when Christiaan went missing have been enormous, but this does not mean that we grew blind to the suffering of others. At the request of the family, we will therefore give 10% of our donation fund to charities in Nepal. Which initiatives we will support exactly will be determined at a later stage.
The goals of 58.000 euro we set when starting the crowd funding action seems to have been a good estimation at this point. It’s hard to tell what the future will hold. At the moment we believe to have sufficient financial means to continue our search.
The past few days saw intensive contact between the Dutch consulate and the ministry of Defense in Nepal regarding the deployment of a unit from “Nepal Army’s High Altitude and Mountain Warfare Training Academy”. It is a specialized unit standing at the ready at any time to be able to help. Because of the poor weather, among other things, it has not been possible yet to carry out the first scouting flight however. Based on that flight, they will be able to determine a further action plan to support the search. The deployment of this specialized unit has among other things been made possible by the money from the crowdfunding. The money will only be spent on transport and food for the troops.
Vlaardingen / Krimpen ad IJssel – The life of Suzanne van Zanen, Nelleke Plaisier and Irma Bonte has been turned upside down ever since mountaineer Christian Wilson was found missing in the Himalayas in Nepal. Meanwhile, their husbands have traveled to the country to find their friend. “We have hope until proven otherwise.”
Today we’ve received confirmation of the following: Paul found a piece of an orange helmet between Basecamp and Italian Camp, near a riverbed (Petzl Sirocco helmet). This is a fairly new type of helmet that we’re quite certain Christiaan had with him. It’s a tangible clue that could help our search. Paul is on his way down. Tomorrow we’ll focus on how we’re going to continue the search, and a few people will keep studying the satellite images.
Please find more information in the press release.
Pieter (Christiaan’s brother) shares the below prayer and asks everyone to pray for Christiaan with him, family and friends at Church on Sunday.
“Creator of heaven and earth. Creator of the mountains. The world is on fire. Thousands of people live in poverty, lack education, die from easily treatable diseases or are being raped, wounded or killed in wars.
In this world we are looking for 1 brother, son, acquaintance or friend with a hobby. To us, this is important now. We are sorry if, for the moment, we are forgetting about the rest of the world. Your word also applies to 1 lost sheep.
Thank you for going much further in your search for us than we are able to go in our search for Christiaan. You sent your Son. Thank you, Lord Jesus. You wandered the hills, walked on water, silenced storms and fed hundreds of people. You changed the course of history. You died for us. You stood up for us. You showed us that disease, pain, loneliness and death do not have the last word, but that there is a new future. We do not know if we will be able to go climb a mountain with Christiaan anytime soon. We do believe that when Your heaven has descended unto earth, we may stand on peaks. When the lion is able to lie down with the lamb, I expect we will be able to climb the Dhaulagiri without any danger.”
Satellite images The analysis of the satellite images is a time consuming job and is taking some more time still.
Handing out flyers and talking to many people Felix, John, Ben and Ruben are very busy handing out flyers in various areas where people might live who could have seen Christiaan. They are talking to many people, hoping to gain information about the last sighting of Christiaan. Several people confirm he was headed for the Italian camp.
Canine team The first period of the hiring of the search dog team is almost over. Further deployment of the team is being considered.
At the moment, part of the satellite images are being examined. The images from before May 16 and those from after May 16th are being compared. Changes in the landscape caused by rockfall or avalanches are being looked at. Based on these data, the search can be carried out in a more specific manner.
In many places where the investigation team goes to work, people know about the disappearance of Christiaan. It seems more and more is becoming known among the local population.
John is talking with the local police about all possible scenarios, so the team can take all necessary actions. The co-operation with the Dutch consulate is going very well and helps to connect with local contacts.
Paul and Pemba have been searching the area between Basecamp and Italian camp during the last few days. Unfortunately it’s getting more dangerous because of the continuing rain. In the video below you can see how the river has grown.
At this moment, there is an intensive search for new searching possibilities. The options below are made possible by, among others, the crowd funding activities. If you have any tips for other ways to find Christiaan, please let us know through the tips page.
An assignment has been given to a company that has satellite images at their disposal. An analysis of images before and after May 16th could produce interesting information. Unfortunately, these images are not of such a quality that a person can be recognized. It is possible to see differences in terrains (fallen rocks). Based on this, it might be possible to search on very specific places.
Additionally, the possibility of deploying drones is researched. There are 2 interesting options.
1. Deploying drones that make videos on places that are to dangerous for Paul and Pemba to come.
2. Deploying specialist drones in caves. (See video).
The search and rescue dogteam searched intensively during the last few days. The dogs are exhausted and need rest. They got to Bagar. it´snot likely that Christiaan is between Italian camp and Bagar. The team will focus on the area between Basecamp and Italian camp. The dogs need to go up the mountain again. Unfortunately the weather is too cloudy / rainy for a helicopterflight. The dogs need to be picked up and get new supplies of food. it would be best to do this as early as possible in the morning, so the change for clouds is as less as possible. Felix, Ben and John are in Pokhara and willmake further plans with the Nepalese leader of the team.
We’ve received a message from Felix, John and Ben that they arrived safely in Kathmandu. They will continue their journey tomorrow. Their main task is to help to search in the area of Jomsom and Pokhara. The team will not travel into the mountain area, but will focus on scenarios in which Christiaan is already somewhere outside the mountain area.
This morning a new search by air took place. Ruben flew along with the flight. The extra flight was made possible by (a part) of the generous donations we got. Ruben gives us the following update:
“The weather was good this morning. We flew from Pokhara. Just before we wanted to get up in the air, Paul called that it was too cloudy, but when we got there we could clearly see Paul and Italian camp and landed safely. We’ve had a short contact and decided that Paul and Pemba would fly to Basecamp.
3 man searched the Hidden valley from the helicopter. We landed nearby a tent, but they were climbers who had just arrived.
Paul is making plans with Pemba what they will do the upcomming days. It’s good to know good people are searching on the mountain. I spotted the dogteam by air. I expect them to reach Bogar.”
Ruben: “The manager of saron and Pemba sherpa traveled to Pokhara today. We looked through all the info, talked with Paul and made plans. Our plan is to drop Pemba with Paul at the Italian camp and then fly to do a search by air. The dogteam is continuing and is a bit below Italian camp. They work towards Bogar. We will leave at 06:00 and hope for good weather.”
Felix, John and Ben will help the search for Christiaan in Nepal. They will leave this evening to Nepal, where they will help to search in the area of Jomsom and Pokhara. The team will not travel into the mountain area, but will focus on scenarios in which Christiaan is already somewhere outside the mountain area.
Last Sunday in several churches people prayed for Christiaan and that me may be found soon. The Church of the Nazarene in Vlaardingen was one of them. (The video is an edited version of the service)
Christiaan has a big passion for music. That’s why the last few years he regularly played in several churches. The family finds support in music, prayer, but especially in God who made the mountains. Your prayers are appreciated a lot. Please keep on praying that we will find Christiaan soon.
We’re investigating if Christiaan bought a Nepalese SIM card. Did you receive a call of message from Christiaan in May which starts with +977 of 00977, please inform us via www.christiaanwilson.nl/tips.