An Indian helicopter mission on Wednesday to remove the bodies of five missing mountaineers believed to be killed in an avalanche high in the Himalayas, which was halted after encountering technical problems, officials said. Indo Tibetan Border Police officials say that the operation they are calling “Daredevils” was launched on wednesday to retrieve the bodies, which were seen by air on Nanda Devi East in India’s Uttarakhand state.
Eight climbers – four from Britain, two from the United States, and one each from Australia and India – were reported missing last Friday. This happened after they failed to return to their base camp near Nanda Devi, India’s second highest mountain.
A rescue mission was launched on Monday, after an Indian air force helicopter spotted five bodies partially buried in snow, high on a slope.
Furthermore, a recovery mission again began on Wednesday but the initial sorties encountered technical problems, said Vijay K Jogdande. Jogdande is the top government official in the remote mountain area.
“No bodies have so far been recovered from the three initial sorties this morning,” he said, without giving more details.
No more helicopter flights were planned for today, said Police Superintendent Ram Chandra Rajguru. He further added that more details will be provided at a news conference scheduled for 0630 GMT.
The status of the other three climbers is not known. The officials have said that the possibility of their survival is remote. They further added that their bodies could be near the five that have been spotted.
Deadliest climbing season
It has been one of the deadliest climbing seasons in the Himalayas for several years. More than 20 people have been killed in the mountains. This, including 11 on Mount Everest. Everest, the world’s highest peak has been plagued by poor weather, inexperienced climbers and overcrowding.
Furthermore, Nanda Devi, at 7,816 meters (25,643 feet) and Nanda Devi East, are among the world’s most challenging peaks. Hence, only a handful of people have climbed them.