‘Five bodies spotted’ on Himalayan mountain Nanda Devi where Brit climbers went missing after avalanche – The Sun

FIVE bodies have been spotted on a Himalayan mountain where Brit climbers went missing after an avalanche, a local official has said.

A group of eight climbers – including four Brits – failed to return to their base camp on Friday after trying to reach the summit of the previously unclimbed Nanda Devi.

A district official, Vijay Jogdande, has told Australia’s ABC: “Today an aerial survey team sighted five dead bodies.

"The search helicopter is back now. We can only lift the dead bodies after a technical assessment and advice."

Local media has named the missing Brits as group leader Martin Moran, along with John McLaren, Rupert Whewell and Richard Payne.

An Australian woman, Ruth McCance, US nationals Anthony Sudekum and Ronald Beimel and their Indian guide Chetan Pandey are also missing.

Some of the climbers in the group who had turned back earlier from the trek alerted the authorities on Friday night.

Two air force helicopters and a rescue team have been searching ever since for the climbers, who were attempting to reach the 7,434 metre-high summit of Nanda Devi, India's second highest mountain.

An operation to find the other three mountaineers will resume Tuesday, Jogdande added.

Today an aerial survey team sighted five dead bodies

He said they may have been buried in an avalanche that struck the section of the mountain where they were attempting their ascent earlier this week.

But he has said the "chances of survival are bleak" of finding anyone alive.

Government officials are now working out how best to get the bodies off the mountain.

"There is always a fear that people going for the rescue may get stuck there," Jogdande said.

Mountaineers reported the "heavy" avalanche on the route the group had intended on taking.

It is understood the group had left their base camp on May 13, and had been due to return yesterday.

The group last posted an update on social media on May 22, writing: "The Nanda Devi team has reached their second base camp at 4870m, their home for the next week.

"After a recce of the route they will be making a summit attempt on an unclimbed peak at 6477m. In the words of Royal Robbins 'A first ascent is a creation in the same sense as is a painting or a song'.

"We wish them all the very best of luck and an incredible climb!"

Martin Moran founded British mountaineering company 'Moran Mountain' in 1985, leading guided tours of summits in Scotland, Norway, the Alps and Himalayas.

Nigel Vardy, a mountaineer who has known Mr Moran for 20 years, described his friend as a "top of the range" climber, who "knows the mountains, he knows the area, he knows what he is doing".

Speaking to Sky News, he said the pair had climbed together extensively, and that Mr Moran was at "the top of his game".

The Foreign Office said: "We are in contact with the Indian authorities following reports that a number of British nationals are missing in the Indian Himalayas.

"We do all we can to assist any British people who need our help."

A spokesperson for Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said: "The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is providing consular assistance to the family of an Australian that may be among a group of trekkers missing in the Nanda Devi area of India."

It comes after climbers were photographed battling crowds to reach the summit of Mount Everest this week.

The haunting photo of a line of mountaineers stepping over a corpse was shared to highlight the dangers on the peak that has claimed 11 lives in nine days.

Most of the deaths on Everest this year have been attributed to exhaustion and tiredness, exacerbated because a crowded route to and from the summit has led to delays.

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