Bodies of seven climbers retrieved from Indian mountain
The eight person group that went missing just under a month ago included four Britons, two Americans, one Indian and one Australian. They had set out to summit an “unclimbed peak” in the northern state of Uttarakhand.
A group of mountaineers from the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) found the seven bodies near an unnamed peak on Nanda Devi East.
The search for the eighth person missing would continue on Monday, ITBP spokesman Vivek Kumar Pandey told AFP.
The bodies retrieved have been “taken to a nearby site”, Pandey said, adding: “We have also found some mountaineering equipment and gear from the site.”
The identities and nationalities of those brought back from the mountain have not yet been determined.
Four Britons were rescued earlier after separating from the main group and had been helping the search teams to locate the others.
The group of eight climbers — led by experienced British mountaineer Martin Moran — had permission to climb the eastern peak of Nanda Devi.
But a Facebook post by Moran’s mountaineering firm on May 22 said that they planned to attempt “an unclimbed peak” around 6,500 metres (21,300 feet) high.
The missing climbers last communicated on May 26, a day before heavy snow fell and massive avalanches hit the heights.
A massive search was then launched by Indian authorities but operations were affected by bad weather and difficult terrain.
Pandey said it took five hours to retrieve the bodies.
“The terrain conditions were extremely difficult due to steep gradient, snow accumulation and wind conditions,” he said
Hundreds of climbers from across the world visit India to scale mountains across the Himalayan chain, and the peaks in Nanda Devi sanctuary are considered among the toughest.
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