Travel is a great opening to the international scene.
Travelling alone or just with your backpack, but obviously with multiplied risks when unaccompanied.
In 2000, however, a couple had disappeared in the Cusco area of the Sacred Valley. It was after more than three months of waiting, official searches and others that we were allowed to search for Serge De Taeye and Gladys Sánchez and were able, with our teams and the help of two para-gliders, to discover their bodies at the foot of Mount Chicon from which they had probably fallen at night without being seen.
Now, twenty-two years later, we are again on the bridge, but still lagging behind, with the worrying disappearance of our compatriot Natacha de Crombrugghe de Schipsdaele, travelling alone in Peru and having started a trek also alone in the region of Arequipa, Colca, Cabanaconde.
A solidarity between people of various nationalities was activated as soon as the announcement (on the 10th day) of the disappearance of this young Belgian lawyer was made. Generating exchanges between compatriots in Belgium, others residing in Peru but also their French, German, and Peruvian contacts, and obtaining certain information, contacts of guides, possibilities of use of specific drones with zoom, thermal camera, a good radius of action, a certain resistance to the wind etc., but also with mountain guides from the region and others. The Belgian and Peruvian authorities, guides, tracking dogs, drone(s) are this time in the area, with the parents, in this intensive search.
We strongly hope that they will be successful, with a happy ending, while being ready to take over later if they are not, as in 2000.
Convinced that the cooperation between the official public and private sectors in good synergy are a value with considerable potential, we are at your disposal according to our possibilities, because it is imperative to respond in the best time and conditions (without constituting a nuisance or a problem) to the distress of the parents, the close relations and any person concerned, especially when you are far away. Because we can imagine that this is what each of us would want in a similar situation, if one of our loved ones had disappeared in a distant country which we may not really know and whose language, geography, cultural, social or other elements we have not necessarily mastered.
The assistance of our authorities, but also the welcome and emphatic support of our compatriots in the world and their contacts, seem to us to be of great importance and potential.
We congratulate and thank with all our heart all those who have allowed us to find the couple who disappeared in 2000, as well as those who have contacted us and have already helped us as much as they could and have once again affirmed that they are ready in case of need!
Human solidarity is a beautiful thing. Let's strengthen it whenever we can. As our country's motto emphasises, "Unity makes strength".
Guy O. Vanackeren
Belgo-Club - Peru
Chamber of Belgium and Luxembourg in Peru.