Five bodies out of eight missing mountaineers, including seven foreigners, were sighted during a massive rescue mission near Nanda Devi East peak in Pithoragarh, according to news agency Reuters. The eight mountaineers were reported missing since May 25. Authorities had earlier managed to rescue four other climbers from the UK, stuck up near base camp of Nanda Devi East peak in Pithoragarh.
Pithoragarh District Magistrate VK Jogdande said the four UK climbers were spotted 21 kilometers beyond the base camp and rescued during a sortie undertaken to locate the missing eight-member team led by well-known UK climber Martin Moran.
Two sorties were conducted on Sunday to locate Moran's team, said Jogdande, adding more sorties would be held on Monday to search them.
ITBP: Equipment and bodies seen in open/ partially buried in snow through aerial view (Helicopter) today near the unclimbed peak where the 8 missing mountaineers who were reported heading towards Nanda Devi East at around 20000 ft pic.twitter.com/KXwmSqx5OU— ANI (@ANI) June 3, 2019
The four UK mountaineers rescued on Sunday told authorities that when they last got in touch with Moran's team on May 24, they were heading for some peak other than Nanda Devi East.
Moran's eight-member team went missing on way to the 7,434-metre-high Nanda Devi East peak in Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district.
Moran's team includes three climbers from the UK, two from the US and one from Australia, besides an officer from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, New Delhi.
The eight missing climbers were Martin Moran, John McLaren, Richard Payne and Rupert Havel from the UK, Anthony Sudecam and Rachel Bimmel from the US, Ruth Macrain from Australia and IMF's Chetan Pandey.
The district administration launched the search operation after people at the base camp alerted authorities late on Friday night.
The team is said to have been missing since May 25 when it was supposed to return to the base camp, Jogdande told reporters on Saturday.
The route to the peak begins from Munsiyari about 132 km from the district headquarters.
(With PTI inputs)