The father of an Israeli-American backpacker, who went missing in the Parbati valley nearly three months ago, has decided to abandon the search for his son, an Indian web site is reporting.
Ami-Chai Shtainmitz, 24, who served in the Israeli army for three years, went missing after leaving from the village of Khirganga to explore the Parvati Valley.
At the time of his disappearance Levi Pekar, 21, and Yehuda Kirsh, 23, were in Manali as part of Chabad’s worldwide summer visitation program. Both assisted in the search efforts.
Jacob Shtainmetz, Amichai’s father, says they have searched the entire trek his son took, through wooded areas and water channels, but have found no clues to his whereabouts.
“After nearly three months of intensive searching, 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,” said Shtainmetz.
“We are leaving this place with heavy heart,” he said.
Local police believe he may 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, they said.
Police have advised tourists not to trek in isolated areas alone.