"Gayen and two of her sherpas who had gone on an expedition to Kanchenjunga have gone missing after being caught in an avalanche. We have contacted the Nepal government and the external affairs ministry to ensure they are rescued at the earliest," Housing Minister Arup Biswas said on Wednesday in Kolkata.

Biswas said Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee called up the Nepal government, which has deployed a helicopter to search for the missing mountaineer and the sherpas.

In May 2013, Gayen became the second woman from West Bengal to reach the 'top of the world'.

Kunga Bhutia from Darjeeling was the first civilian woman from the state to have climbed the peak on May 22, 1993.

(JPN/Agencies)

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