Nanda Devi Climbers Still Missing, Paramilitary Team Preps For Search Ops

The team of mountaineers that went missing while climbing the Nanda Devi last week.

New Delhi: 

Bad weather has hampered search operations for an eight-member team of mountaineers that went missing while trying to scale the Nanda Devi East peak in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district late last month. Officials have little hope of finding any of them alive, and there are fears that fresh avalanches in the region may have buried their bodies deeper in the snow.

The team, including seven mountaineers from the United Kingdom, United States and Australia, left Munsiyari on May 13 to scale the 7,434-metre peak. An aerial search was taken up after they failed to return to their base camp by May 31, and three days later, Indian Air Force (IAF) choppers sighted five bodies lying near an unscaled peak.

A team of 20 mountaineers belonging to the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) was airdropped along with supplies at the Nanda Devi base camp by an MI-17 helicopter of the IAF on Friday. They are still undergoing the mandated acclimatisation procedure required for operating in altitudes of over 15,000 feet.

According to sources, fresh snowfall affected the movement of mountaineers as well as choppers today. The ITBP had earlier called in its high-altitude porters from Uttarkashi to dig out the bodies and bring them down to the base camp, so they could be taken to the district headquarters at Pithoragarh.

The ill-fated team of mountaineers comprised John McLaren, Rupert Whewell, Richard Payne,…

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