Search efforts continue for 8 climbers missing in the Indian Himalayas, but hopes are fading after possible avalanche
A search team has spotted five bodies on an unnamed peak in the Indian Himalayas, where the eight climbers were believed to have gone missing a week ago.
Pithoragarh District Magistrate Vijay Kumar Jogdande said on Monday that the bodies seemed to be partially buried in an avalanche on the peak in different locations.
The analysis of some photographs taken by a helicopter that did an air survey of the area earlier today allowed to identify the bodies.
The operation has stopped by Monday afternoon local time for the day, Jogdande said. Now the authorities are figuring out how to recover the bodies.
On Sunday, helicopter teams saw signs of an avalanche on the peak where the group was thought to have been, according to two state officials. Also, on Monday, a helicopter made a recce of the area and the crew saw a backpack at an elevation of 5,000 meters.
Jogdande said that for sure the missing team has been caught by a “huge avalanche” and that the ‘chances of survival are almost zero now.”
The missing climbers — four Britons, two Americans, an Australian and their Indian liaison officer — went missing in the region of Nanda Devi East, one of the highest peaks in India at just over 7,400 meters (24,000 feet.)
According to group’s expedition company Facebook posts, the group was attempting to climb a previously unclimbed and unnamed peak of about 6,477 meters (21,250 feet)
Indian authorities said on Monday that the climbers had no permission to climb an unnamed peak. Jogdande added that if they had known that the eight climbers were planning on climbing the unnamed peak instead of Nanda Devi East, they “would not have given permission.”
He added that heavy rain and high winds in the area have been hampering the search efforts.
More information: CNN.com
From Accuweather and BBC.com
Eight climbers have been missing when climbing Nanda Devi, India’s second tallest mountain at 7,816 meters. The group was supposed to return on May 31, having departed on May 13.
They were guided by British Mountain guide Martin Moran, owner of Scottish Moran Mountain tour company, who is an experienced mountain guide and has run numerous expeditions in the Indian Himalayas.
Search efforts started on Saturday, but bad weather conditions forced them to be called off during the evening hours. There are indications that an avalanche may have swept up the team.
The operation resumed on Sunday morning, with the Indian Air Force deploying two helicopters to aid in the search.