Published: Fri, July 05, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

India Air Force brings down bodies of seven climbers killed in avalanche

India Air Force brings down bodies of seven climbers killed in avalanche

Uttarakhand: Bodies of seven out of eight missing mountaineers, who were on a mission to climb Nanda Devi peak over a month ago, were brought to Pithoragarh on Wednesday, officials said. It took the ITBP team a total of 500 hours spanning over 15 days to bring the mortal remains back so that the families of the deceased find a closure of the tragic episode.

Following detection of the bodies, lying partially buried in a terrain too hard to be retrieved from in IAF's choppers, the ITBP launched its "daredevil" mission on June 13 and managed to reach them on foot after an "arduous" trekking and climbing operation.

According to the district information office (Pithoragarh), "Four bodies reached Munsiyari on Wednesday morning from where they will be airlifted to Pithoragarh".

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Pithoragarh District Magistrate V K Jogdande had said that due to continuous snowfall in the region the bodies might be covered by snow which would further complicate the challenge for the rescue team. The bodies will be sent in an aircraft to Pithoragarh for post-mortem and identification. The team had launched ' Operation Daredevil' for the missing group of mountaineers - 4 British, 2 Americans, and 1 each from India and Australia. It should be noted that the forces used two IAF choppers - Cheetah - for carrying out the operation.

A search mission for the eighth body had to be stopped on June 27 as the weather became inclement due to the approach of the monsoon season.

Australian woman Ruth McCance has officially been identified by Indian authorities as one of the eight climbers who were killed in an avalanche near the country's second highest mountain in May. The dead include four from the UK, two from the United States of America and one each from Australia and India.

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