Missing Israeli’s father ends search in Himachal


Kullu (Himachal Pradesh) : The father of an Israeli-American backpacker, who went missing in Himachal Pradesh’s Parbati valley nearly three months ago, has decided to abandon the search for his son.

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Amichai Shtainmetz, 24, who served in the Israeli army for three years, went missing while trekking.

“After nearly three months of intensive search operation, we have finally decided to end the operation. But I still firmly believe that my son is alive and trapped in high mountain passes. He is sturdy enough to survive even in adverse climatic conditions,” Jacob Shtainmetz said Monday.

“We have carried out extensive recce of the entire trek that my son had taken. All the wooded areas and water channels located on the track were thoroughly searched but we could not get any clues about his whereabouts. We are leaving this place with heavy heart,” he said.

Shtainmetz had even hired the services of private rescue team to trace his son. He announced a reward of Rs.100,000 for anyone giving clues about his son.

Superintendent of Police (Kullu) K.K. Indoria told IANS: “We did our best to locate the missing trekker. I believe that he might have died in an accident as the hills are rugged, cold and inhospitable. He died either due to high-altitude sickness or slipped off icy tracks or was marooned by blizzards.”

The second possibility could be that he was robbed and killed by local people and his body is buried in forests or thrown into the streams, he said.

“We are advising the tourists, especially the foreigners, not to trek in isolated areas alone. But Israelis prefer to roam aimlessly alone from village to village. They also indulge in drugs. This is one of the reasons for their mysterious deaths and disappearances. We have even informed their embassy a number of times to issue advisories to their citizens before giving visas,” he said.

Amichai’s is not an isolated case. At least 19 foreign tourists have gone missing in the Kullu valley in the past 17 years.

A Swedish woman’s frozen body was found on a glacier in Lahaul and Spiti district in 2004, almost 25 years after she went missing in the region.