ITBP climbers bring down seven bodies to lower camp, to be airlifted Wednesday

Pithoragarh (U’khand): ITBP climbers have brought down all seven bodies of mountaineers recovered from the western ridge of the Nanda Devi East peak to a lower camp at a height of 15,600-feet from where they will be airlifted to Munsiyari on Wednesday.

Four of the bodies were carried down on Monday and the rest of them on Tuesday, ITBP DIG Kumaon Range APS Nimbadia said.

He said ice is being used to preserve the bodies and save them from decaying.

The bodies will be airlifted to Munsiyari by IAF helicopters On Wednesday, he said. From Munsiyari they will be taken in a aircraft to Pithoragarh for post-mortem and identification of the bodies.

Ever since being pulled out from under layers of snow on June 23, the bodies were kept at a camp located at a height of 17,500 feet, 600 metres below the spot where they had been recovered.

They had to be brought down on foot to a height of 15,600 feet as IAF’s Cheetah helicopters could not be flown to a height of 17,500 feet, the ITBP official said, describing the operation named “Dare Devil” as the biggest and the most challenging carried out amid inclement weather.

An eight member team — seven foreign mountaineers and one liasion officer from Indian Mountaineering Foundation — had gone missing on way to the Nanda Devi East peak on May 25. The mountaineering team was led by noted British mountaineer Martin Moran who had already scaled the peak twice in the past.

Seven of the bodies were recovered on June 23. However, search for one was abandoned by the ITBP on the fourteenth day of the operation with the inclement weather repeatedly hampering the exercise.