Tuesday, 17 September, 2019

Climbers recover 7 bodies near Nanda Devi peak

Australian climber Ruth Mc Cance is missing in the Himalayas Australian climber Ruth Mc Cance is missing in the Himalayas
Patty Aguilar | 25 June, 2019, 20:16

The search was under way for the body of an eighth climber on the Nanda Devi mountain, senior administrative official Vijay Kumar Jogdande said, giving details of rescue operations that have lasted nearly a month.

A 20-member ITBP team, which started out on foot last week, on Sunday reached the area where the bodies were suspected to be missing, said Vivek Kumar Pandey, a spokesman for the ITBP.

Seven of the climbers who at the end of may went missing in the Indian Himalayas, was found dead.

It is yet to be decided whether the team will need to airlift out the bodies that are now at 18,000 feet, Pandey said.

A rescue team had spotted the bodies earlier this month but was not able to retrieve them due to bad weather conditions.

According to Facebook posts from the group's expedition company, the climbers were attempting to scale a previously unclimbed and unnamed peak.

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A 10-member ITBP team of climbers dug out the seven bodies, including a woman mountaineer, which were buried under the snow on the western ridge of the peak towards the Pindari glacier, said Deputy Inspector General (Kumaon range) A P S Nimbadia.

They told officials on May 31 that they were in touch with the eight until 26 May a day before an avalanche hit the mountain.

Ms McCance was an experienced amateur climber who had previously been on expeditions in India's Ladakh region. The bodies were recovered at an altitude of 21,000 feet. They are Mark Thomas, 44, Zachary Quain, 32, Kate Armstone, 39 and Ian Wade, 45. Despite adverse weather and challenging conditions, the team was successful in retrieving seven bodies from the snow.

The recovered bodies, which include that an Indian and a female climber, are yet to be formally identified, he said.

An official with the U.S. Department of State said they are "aware of reports of a recovery option underway" for the two Americans and the other climbers, but referred ABC News to local authorities for further questions. "Till then operation is on to find the remaining missing body".

The climbers were believed to have been hit by an avalanche as they attempted to summit one of Nanda Devi's peaks that has not yet been conquered.

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