Inclement weather, avalanche risk put off rescue mission
Three attempts to retrieve bodies of eight mountaineers feared dead at India’s second highest mountain Nanda Devi East failed on Wednesday due to high altitude, bad weather and avalanche risk.
The Pithoragarh district administration, the Indian Air Force, the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and the State Disaster Response Force are working on an alternative plan. It may take about 10 days to recover the bodies, sources said on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, a 15-member Polish team reached Nanda Devi East base camp on Wednesday but they were stopped at the base camp and the process of their safe return was initiated.
Deputy Inspector General of ITBP, State Headquarters Bareilly, APS Nimbadia, said, “Earlier our team conducted reconnaissance on the route. Our attempts on Wednesday failed due to the bad weather. So far it seems it will be risky for our specialist officers to drop down in the area where the bodies were spotted. Now we are planning to attempt this mission from Pindari glacier, Bageshwar on Thursday if the weather permits.”
The eight climbers — four from Britain, two from the United States, and one each from Australia and India — were reported missing last Friday after they failed to return to their base camp near Nanda Devi,
An IAF helicopter had on Monday spotted five bodies partially buried in snow high on a mountain slope. The status of the other three climbers is not known, but officials have said the possibility of their survival is remote, and their bodies are likely to be near the five who had been spotted.
Pithoragarh District Magistrate Vijay Kumar Jogdande told The Pioneer, “We attempted three times but could not succeed. We will be attempting again on Thursday, with a different approach. IAF helicopter will again survey the area.”
About the Polish group, he said, “They have been stopped at Nanda Devi base camp. They were earlier asked to suspend their plan to trek on the route on May 31 immediately after we received the information of eight stranded mountaineers on the mountain. “
When asked about whom the bodies will be handed over to, Pithoragarh Superintendent of Police RC Rajguru said, “Police will first receive the bodies from ITBP. They will then be sent to Haldwani Government Medical College for post-mortem. Thereafter we will proceed according to the instructions provided.”
When asked how the Polish group reached the base camp even after the tragedy with the earlier group he said, “They got the permission earlier from Munsyari Sub-Divisional Magistrate. They started their trekking on May 27 and took the same route to Nanda Devi East peak. They were not spotted earlier because only trekking groups take the route from Martoli to Nanda Devi base camp.”
Regarding the ongoing mission he said, “Four qualified ITBP specialists tried to retrieve the bodies on Wednesday with the help of an IAF helicopter. The area where the bodies were spotted is shaped like a bowl. Our earlier thought-out plan could not succeed. The area is at high altitude and then there is the risk of another avalanche. Our priority is also the safe return of our officer with the retrieved bodies.”
Thursday, 06 June 2019 | PNS | Dehradun
You might also like
- Missing AN-32 found in ruins June 12, 2019
- Scholarships for 5 crore minority students: Naqvi June 12, 2019
- Pilgrimage centres becoming centres of tourism: Shankaracharya June 12, 2019
- Maharaj meets Patel, discusses tourism plans June 12, 2019
- Two expeditions slated to start today for retrieving bodies of climbers June 12, 2019