NEW DELHI: The ITBP on Monday released a video clip showing the 'last moments' of the eight mountaineers killed on way to the Nanda Devi East Peak in Uttarakhand in May.
The 1.55-minute video was shot by one of the mountaineers from his helmet-mounted camera just before the group was to summit the 7,434 metre high Nanda Devi East peak sometime in late May.
The undated video shows all the eight climbers hooked in a line with a climbing rope even as the person who shot it swerves his head to record the serene and frosty climes of the peak, considered one of the most difficult mountains in the Indian Himalayan ranges.
The climbers can be seen standing in a queue on a slippery snow-clad track that would have taken them to the peak The video ends with a minor thud, a sound that the ITBP officials said could be of an avalanche or snow storm that claimed their lives.
— ITBP (@ITBP_official) July 8, 2019
The mountaineers went missing on May 25 and even of the total eight bodies were brought down by the ITBP from about 19,000 feet to a lower base on July 3, following which helicopters lifted them for Pithoragarh.
A daunting operation by the men of the mountain-warfare trained force, code-named 'daredevils', clocked about 500 hours spanning more than 15 days before success was achieved.
The video was released by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police at an event at their headquarters here, where the 15 members of the team were honoured by ITBP DG S S Deswal with mementos and a cash reward of Rs 20,000 each.
The team leader, second-in-command Ratan Singh Sonal, was awarded a cash of Rs 25,000.
"The video was sourced from a photo card that our boys recovered from near the bodies that lay in a bowl-like region of the mountain. This is the only evidence and last moments record of the journey of the eight climbers," ITBP Deputy Inspector General (DIG) A P S Nimbadia said.
"It ends with a slight thud like sound and we suspect that this would have the avalanche or snowstorm that led to the death of the climbers," he said.
Nimbadia supervised the operation from an ITBP base in Pithoragarh in Uttarakhand.
The force is deployed to guard the Line of Actual Control (LAC) with China that runs across the mountain states of Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Sikkim and Arunachal Pradesh. The mountaineers had left Munsyari on May 13 to scale the peak located in Pithoragarh district.
The team included seven members from the UK, Australia and the US, besides a liaison officer from the Indian Mountaineering Foundation.
The body of the team leader and noted British mountaineer Martin Moran has not been found till now.