The daughter of an Augusta hiker missing in Nepal after a massive earthquake planned to fly with her boyfriend Sunday night to the country to look for her mother.

The family of Dawn Habash, a 57-year-old yoga instructor, hasn’t heard from her since April 17, when she was setting out on a hike in the Langtang region of the south Asian country, north of the capital city, Kathmandu, and along Nepal’s border with China. That region was devastated by an earthquake on April 25. It triggered avalanches that killed many in the Langtang region. The death toll is in the thousands and is expected to rise higher.

Dawn Habash’s daughter, Yasmine, who lives in Juneau, Alaska, but recently has been staying in Maine, said she would fly on Sunday from Boston to Nepal with her boyfriend, Reid Harris. She said they’re planning to conduct an on-the-ground search-and-rescue mission when they get there.

“They are having success in finding people, whether they’re alive or not, unfortunately,” Yasmine Habash said. “That’s what I needed, and I couldn’t wait in Maine anymore.”

The family is getting more and more information about Dawn Habash’s possible whereabouts at the time of the quake. Yasmine said they have spoken with an Italian woman who survived the earthquake and hiked with Dawn Habash on the day of the earthquake and had taken pictures of her the day before. The woman said Dawn Habash hired a trekking porter to accompany her, which the family didn’t know before, according to Yasmine Habash.

She said her mother and the Italian woman planned a hike to a higher elevation on the day of the quake, but Dawn Habash turned around because bad weather had arrived on the mountain. Their plan was to meet later for tea in Langtang village, which the earthquake destroyed by unleashing an avalanche of ice and rock, probably killing hundreds of its residents. The Italian woman never made it there and was rescued, but it’s unknown where Dawn Habash and her porter ended up.

It’s been “an emotional roller coaster” for the family and “things are constantly changing,” Yasmine Habash said. She and her boyfriend have companies and volunteers lined up to help them search, and the family had raised nearly $15,000 as of Sunday afternoon in an online fundraising campaign to pay for travel or hiring professional rescuers. Because of inflated prices, she said, helicopter rescue missions cost as much as $4,000. On Sunday, the Red Barn restaurant on Riverside Drive in Augusta was pledging to donate 50 percent of all of the proceeds it took in between 4 and 6 p.m. and Yasmine said the Down East Emergency Medicine Institute, an Orono charity, has offered help in assembling a dog team.

Yasmine Habash and her brother, Khaled, of Portland, said they’re grateful for support from Maine and beyond via social media; and while the situation may be grim, she said, there’s still a possibility of finding their mother.

“I feel good,” she said. “I feel we are doing every single thing we can, and my mom deserves that and more.”

Michael Shepherd — 370-7652

[email protected]

Twitter: @mikeshepherdme


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