The family of a London lawyer and mountaineer missing 9 days on 7,000m peak are losing hope for her safe return.
Mehri Jafari, from Islington, disappeared while attempting to reach the 7,439m Peak Pobeda in Kyrgyzstan last Wednesday (August 4) when eyewitnesses are reported to have seen her falling from a summit of 6,000m.
Ms Jafari’s family and friends launched a GoFundMe Page on August 9 to raise funds for a rescue operation since a first attempt failed the day after she went missing due to poor weather conditions on the mountain.
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But in a statement released on Ms Jafari’s Facebook page earlier this week, her family in Iran and partner Steve admitted they fear the worst.
The post said: “Sadly, we have come to the conclusion that Mehri is now missing presumed dead and we will be liaising with the authorities to request official confirmation of this.”
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Nearly £25,000 has been raised for the mountaineer and activist and a #RescueMehri social media campaign organised by her friends, family and co-workers that saw the Labour MP, Emily Thornberry take part.
She posted: “My constituent and activist party member Mehri Jafari is lost on a mountain in Kyrgyzstan. Money is being raised urgently to pay for a rescue mission. Can you help?”
All of the funds raised will now however be returned.
In a statement, Ms Jafari’s family wrote: “We thank those who donated to Mehri’s rescue efforts and will request that those funds be returned in due course to those who donated.
“We ask that you continue to hold us and all Mehri’s loved ones in your thoughts, and continue, as Mehri has always done, to pursue joy and justice.”
Since the announcement, tributes have poured in to the Facebook page of the lawyer who is an activist for women’s, children’s and LGBTQ+ rights.
“We share your loss and it is hard to bear this news. A lioness that inspired us and will always remembered,” posted one friend.
The former leader of the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn also posted on Twitter: “Solidarity and best wishes to all of Mehri Jafari’s friends and family.”
Peak Pobeda is the most northerly peak in the world and is notoriously treacherous.
Since Ms Jafari’s disappearance this month, two other climbers, Reza Adineh of Iran and Valentin Mikhailov of Russia, have been reported missing and are also feared dead.
After arriving at the base camp of Peak Pobeda on July 17, Ms Jafari wrote on Facebook: “I will start Pobeda and then Lenin Peak as an unfinished project.”