Indian ground team looking for climbers’ bodies in Himalayas

In this Oct. 8, 2016, photograph provided by Juniper Outdoor Pursuits Centre Pvt. Ltd., shows early morning light falling on Nanda Devi east base peak, seen from Pachu valley in Uttarakhand, India. Indian air force pilots have resumed a search over a Himalayan mountain for a team of mostly foreign climbers missing since late May. The fourth day of the search on Tuesday was taking place in the northern state of Uttarakhand after five bodies were spotted in the snow in high-resolution photos taken Monday. (Maninder Kohli/Juniper Outdoor Pursuits Centre Pvt. Ltd. via AP)

NEW DELHI (AP) — India’s mountaineering foundation has launched a ground expedition on a notoriously dangerous Himalayan mountain to retrieve the bodies of five people believed to be from a missing team of international climbers, an official said Monday.

The foundation spokesman Amit Chaudhary said a fully equipped 12-member team hopes to reach the area where the bodies were spotted by Saturday. Helicopter missions have failed to reach the area at an altitude of 5,000 meters (16,404 feet) due to strong turbulence.

Veteran British mountaineer Martin Moran led the team of four Britons, two Americans, an Australian and an Indian on the expedition on Nanda Devi East.

Moran’s Scotland-based company said contact with the team was lost on May 26 following an avalanche. All eight missing climbers are feared dead.

The foundation said its expedition has a window of 15-20 days to complete the operation before monsoon rains arrive. The expedition was using the Pindari glacier side to reach the site.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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