LUCKNOW: The Pithoragarh district administration has sought the services of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) troops to conduct an airborne rescue operation to retrieve the bodies of at least eight climbers suspected to have been killed near an unscaled peak adjoining Nanda Devi East in Uttarakhand.
“This is a high-risk mission as the only way to retrieve the bodies is through a heliborne operation. This is possibly the first time that bodies will be retrieved from a height of about 20,000 feet from a mountain peak in India,” ITBP spokesperson V K Pandey said.
He added that the ITBP headquarters was in constant touch with its 14th battalion based in Pithoragarh and adjoining units to undertake the operation which is expected to be launched on Wednesday on board an IAF helicopter.
The 12-member group of mountaineers included a liaison officer from Delhi’s Indian Mountaineering Foundation.
The group which started their trek on May 13 to scale the peak, did not return to the base camp. Four of the twelve were rescued on Sunday.
The missing were identified as Martin Moran, John McLaren, Richard Payne, Rupert Havel Anthony Sudekum and Rachel Bimmel, Ruth Macrain and Chetan Pandey.
(With PTI inputs)