The boys and rescue members tested negative for Covid-19 

Nima | Gelephu

Two teenagers, who got lost when returning from a visit to a lake in Gelephu, did not carry any food on them because they planned to return home the same day.

For five days and four nights, they survived on wild mangoes and bamboo shoots in the thick forest. Slept by the river bank and in the forest. A matchbox, a water flask, and their phones were all they had, sources said.

The duo searched for caves and started bigger fires in the night.

Four days later, they were safely picked from Beth Dangra, about 11 kilometres away from Rai Dangra, which is around six hours walk from Gelephu town.

The village falls under Gelephu gewog and it is known for the picturesque view of buzzing Gelephu town. About four hours away from the village is the lake, one visited only by a few elders from Rai Dangra in the past.

A resident from Gelephu said that no one in the community dared to venture near the lake alone. “The forest cover is so thick and vast around the lake. Many got lost in that place in the past,” he said.

On September 22, two teenagers set on a journey to visit a waterfall at the source of Ipoli stream that passes through Samtenling gewog and flows down to the plains of Dathgari, Assam. The waterfall is not familiar to many today.

But, the parents of the boys said that they left to visit Sheti lake, a lake located at the source of the Shetikhari stream that flows right from the middle of Gelephu gewog and ends in Mauchhu.

The boys were kept under observation at Gelephu Central Regional Referral hospital. The duo and rescue members who came in contact with the boys were tested for Covid-19, as a precautionary measure.

It took three different search groups to comb the thick forest and hills above Rai Dangra in search of boys. Locals from Rai Dangra assisted the search and rescue teams.

“There are only trails of a pipeline. As we get deeper, the path disappears and only locals could find the trails,” said Tashi Dorji, a de-suup who joined the search team on Saturday.

The rescue team found the boys in stable condition on Sunday afternoon.

“We found them around 12:45pm. We were shouting to another rescue group when the boys responded to our call,” said the member.

The search and rescue team used mobile phones to locate them and tried reaching them with the help of locals from Rai Dangra on Friday after parents reported the incident to police.

The boys were asked to stay in a location and start a fire to help the search team find them.

Gelephu police officials said that all rescue members including some who spent two nights in the jungle searching the boys were back yesterday,

The boys are students in classes X and XII of a school in Gelephu. The students are from Samtenling gewog.

Edited by Tshering Palden