Mission launched to retrieve bodies of climbers in Himalayas

A high-risk helicopter operation to retrieve five bodies spotted during the hunt for eight mountain climbers missing in the Himalayas has reportedly begun.

The group – thought to be four Britons, two Americans, one Australian and an Indian liaison officer – disappeared on May 26 in the Nanda Devi region of the Himalayas after an avalanche.

Led by British mountain guide Martin Moran, the team were attempting to reach the top of an unclimbed peak in a remote area.

Four other British members of the expedition have been rescued.

A helicopter carrying mountaineers from the Indo Tibetan Border police and the air force headed for the area on Wednesday morning local time, according to the BBC.

Unnamed officials told the broadcaster the operation was “very risky” due to bad weather in the area.

They also said it would be a “miracle” if the operation was successful.

“The helicopter will attempt to drop the mountaineers on the peak. If unsuccessful, a different strategy will be adopted,” they said.

Approval to launch the operation had been sought from the Indian government in New Delhi due to the difficult terrain and risk of another avalanche.

The bodies, spotted on Monday, are thought to be members of the missing expedition, district magistrate Dr Vijay Kumar Jogdande said previously.

The search for the remaining three mountaineers was suspended on Tuesday amid poor weather conditions.