7 bodies recovered from western ridge of Nanda Devi East

Pithoragarh: The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) on Sunday recovered seven bodies believed to be that of foreign mountaineers who had gone missing on way to the Nanda Devi East peak in Uttarakhand last month, an officer said.

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.

The bodies have not been identified yet and it will be possible only after they are brought down to the base camp, Nimbadia said.

The DIG said a search was on for another body as there were eight members in the team, which was led by well-known British mountaineer Martin Moran who had already scaled the 7,434-metre-high peak twice in the past.

Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters also assisted in the operation named ‘Daredevil’, the officer added.

The mountaineers had left Munsyari on May 13 to scale the peak in Pithoragarh district, but did not return to the base camp on the appointed date of May 25. The team included seven members from the UK, Australia and the US, besides a liaison officer from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation.

An IAF helicopter had spotted five bodies on way to an unscaled peak adjoining Nanda Devi East during a search on June 3. But immediate recovery of the bodies was not possible because of inclement weather at the peak.

The other members of the team are John McLaren, Richard Payne and Rupert Havel (from the UK); Ruth Macrain (Australia); Anthony Sudekum and Rachel Bimmel (US); and liaison officer Chetan Pandey.