As reported by TOI on Sunday, Bhadauria was last seen one hour after taking off at around 12:30 pm from Billing on Friday. On Saturday morning, his family hired a private helicopter for an aerial search. The heavy costs of aerial search forced the family to approach the Baijnath Sub-divisional Magistrate (SDM). After that, the matter was forwarded to the office of the Deputy Commissioner of Kangra.
Since then, multiple chopper sorties have been conducted by both private operators and the Indian Air Force, which joined the operations on Sunday. But there has been no trace of Bhadauria yet.
He has his wife and son at home. A few years back, they had moved from Delhi to Bir-Billing, which is one of the best aero-sports sites in the world, surrounded by the Dhauladhar mountain range. Bhadauria took up permaculture farming for a living in Bir.
Reportedly, Bhadauria was not carrying GPS or wireless equipment for the flight.
Talking to Timesofindia.com, Bhadauria’s friend Sudip Sarkar provided an update on the search operations and how a group of friends have come together to help the family.
They have hired an on-ground rescue team besides funding the cost of aerial search operations by way of contributing themselves and through an online fundraiser.
“A couple of helicopter searches have happened with private operation, and then an Indian Air Force helicopter has come into the picture since Sunday,” Sarkar told Timesofindia.com on Tuesday.
“Searches are happening every day through helicopters as well as para-motor flights. After the helicopter search is over, para-motor pilots take off. There are almost six to seven ground teams that are searching in different directions, different mountains, looking for any clue of Rohit.
“They camp in the jungle and high mountains in the night and resume their search in the morning,” he added.
According to Sarkar, around Rs 5 to 6 lakh have already been spent on the search operations. He is trying to keep up his optimism, though it has already been four days since Bhadauria went missing.
“For private helicopters and the search and rescue teams that we have hired, more than Rs 5-6 lakhs have already been spent. We are targeting Rs 18-20 lakh. Friends are contributing and then we have started this fundraising online,” Sarkar further told TimesofIndia.com
“But with every hour, we are getting closer to bad news. However, we cannot stop searching. Black is black, white is white; but when it is grey, then it is a very difficult situation.”
Sarkar said Bhadauria took off alongside another paraglider named Arun.
“He was flying with Rohit. When they were coming back, Arun turned back but couldn’t see Rohit where he was last seen over the mountains,” said Sarkar.
Timesofindia.com tried contacting Arun on Tuesday morning, but he had taken off in another chopper sortie to find any trace of his missing friend.