The final report puts to rest all speculations surrounding the Boyan Petrov Search Operation

Dream Wanderlust | May 17 , 2018

Air Search has finished their search operation to find missing Bulgarian climber Boyan Petrov on Shishapangma on 16th May in the afternoon. No trace was found by both the ground and air search teams yet. Teams are now waiting for the official announcement by the Govt. if they need to carry out further search operation for the climber.

Shishapangma, Boyan Petrov

Boyan Petrov


Mt. Shishapangma (8013m)

It was their final search within their permissible limit. Sherpa team had already finished their ground search operation on Shishapangma two days back. In a conversation with Dream Wanderlust, head of Simrik Air Rescue operation team, Mr. Yogesh Sapkota said "We have done whatever we could do within our permit; we are not declaring that we have finished our job. We have sent all the reports to the Bulgarian Govt. now they will take the decision of carrying out further search operation for the missing climber. We had been given permission to search till today." "At 7:51am Nepal local time today, we flew with our crew members along with two Bulgarians for the search & rescue mission of veteran climber Boyan Petrov. We once again flew over Shishapangma and then slowly flew down to the Base Camp as part of the search mission with the hope of finding any trace. We ascended further and also searched the lower parts of the mountains. The entire search flight over Shishapangma was of 1 hour and 30 minutes. Unfortunately, we didn't find any sign of Boyan. Furthermore, Sherpas reached 10 meters closer to the summit and now they are already back at Shishapangma down from the Base Camp. They have found some of Boyan's belongings, such as insulin, medical kit with some energy gels and his t-shirt at Camp-3," as reported by Mr. Yogesh on being asked about the details of the final rescue operation conducted.

They would like to express their heartfelt gratitude to Embassy of Bulgaria in New Delhi, India, Beijing, China and its counselor section in Nepal, Civil Aviataion Authority of Nepal, Home Ministry of Nepal and Makalu Adventure who coordinated throughout the entire search mission from documentation to all formalities for the permit and also thank the two Bulgarians - Kiril Petkov and Petkov Kirilov Petkov who were in Nepal since 10th May 2018 to facilitate this search mission.

Shishapangma, Boyan Petrov

Recovered items by the Sherpa team

Shishapangma, Boyan Petrov

Heli search crew

Boyan Petrov (45), zoologist, researcher, author who has also been a part of more than 25 research-mountaineering expeditions either in the capacity of a leader or as a team member. He is a veteran climber having already summited 10 eight-thousanders without oxygen. He had a plan to summit Shishapangma and Everest from Tibet side this spring. He was climbing solo on Shishapangma without supplemental oxygen went missing since 5th May.

A heli rescue and search operation for the missing climber was launched on 11th May by Simrik air. They deployed Two Helicopters - AS350 B3e of call signs 9N – ALP and 9N – AJZ. The helicopters along with 6 crew members were flown to the Base Camp. The crew members comprise Capt. Siddartha J. Gurung (Pilot), Capt. Surendra Paudel (Pilot), Capt. Ananda Thapa (Pilot), Chhiring Dhenduk Bhote (Rescue Specialist), Mingma Sherpa (Rescue Specialist), Uttam Chaudhary (Technician). In the midst of the rescue operation, heli rescue had to be abandoned twice due to bad weather conditions. The Sherpa team was entrusted with the task of search operation in the absence of heli rescue. They had reached up to Camp-3 and found some belongings of Boyan Petrov.

The timeline of search operation

3rd May: He was seen through the telescope at the level of Camp-3 from the Base Camp.

5th May: A Ukrainian and three Sherpa climbers found Boyan's semi-open tent with his sleeping bag, full of snow in Camp-3. Since then he was declared missing.

11th May: Helicopter rescue operation began to search for Boyan Petrov. Two helicopters from the rescue agency Simrik Air flew from Kathmandu towards the Base Camp of Shishapangma in the morning. Helicopters stay the night at Nyalam, which is around 11 nautical miles from the Shishapangma Base Camp due to bad weather conditions.

12th May: Due to improvement in weather conditions, first round search operation by the heli rescue team completed. Owing to bad weather the helis had to come back to Kathmandu and the second round of heli rescue could not be completed. Heli rescue yielded no positive results. Sherpa team, which comprised Nepali and Chinese climber, proceeded with the search operation. They found Boyan's tent near Camp-2 but nothing was found inside his tent. They stayed the night at Camp-2.

13th May: The Shrepa team reached Camp-3 by afternoon but they found nothing and there was no sign of the climber Boyan Petrov.

14th May: Due to bad weather (snowfall at Nyalam and cloud over the mountains) helis were unable to fly from Kathmandu. Sherpa team came back to the Base Camp in the afternoon. They (Sherpa team) unfortunately could not find any existence of climber Boyan Petrov. But they have found some important evidences, materials and equipments presumably used by Boyan.

15th May: The Heli rescue team could not conduct any search operation over the mountains due to bad weather conditions prevailing on 15th May. However the Sherpa team did come across some food wrappers etc. in places around Camp-3.

16th May: A final through search operation was conducted by the heli rescue team in the morning. They came back to Kathmandu by afternoon. No trace of Boyan Petrov was found.


Air search operation (12th May)


Air search operation (16th May)

Photo Courtesy: Simrik Air

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