Bodies of seven missing climbers ‘recovered on Himalayas’

The bodies of seven of a group of eight missing climbers have been recovered in the Indian Himalayas, officials have said.

The group of climbers, believed to be comprised of four Britons, two Americans, one Australian and an Indian liaison officer, vanished in the Nanda Devi region on May 26 following an avalanche.

Rescue teams will continue to search the area for the body of the eighth mountaineer, Associated Press (AP) reported on Sunday.

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

Officials previously said that all eight of the missing climbers are presumed dead, while four others who were part of the group were rescued.

Earlier this month, a mission was launched to recover five bodies spotted during the search for the missing group of eight.

On Sunday, AP reported that the administrator of Uttarakhand state, Vijay Jogdande, said that soldiers had reached the bodies of seven of the climbers.

The bodies, which are said to have been found at an altitude of more than 5,000 metres, will be brought to base camp to be formally identified.

The search for the eighth mountaineer will continue, Mr Jogdande is reported to have said.

Mr Moran, originally from Tyneside, has been a mountain guide since 1985 and set up his company – Moran Mountain, based in Strathcarron in the Scottish Highlands – with his wife Joy, while their grown-up children Hazel and Alex also work for the business.

In an earlier statement, his family said: “We are deeply saddened by the tragic events unfolding in the Nanda Devi region of the Indian Himalayas.

“As a family, we share the same emotions that all next of kin are experiencing in not knowing the whereabouts or well-being of those closest to us.”

An official statement from the Moran Family:We are deeply saddened by the tragic events unfolding in the Nanda Devi…

Posted by Moran Mountain on Sunday, June 2, 2019

The Moran family explained how the group “had set out to attempt an unclimbed, unnamed summit, Peak 6477m, and the last contact intimated that all was well”.

But they said that it is “not entirely clear” what happened next, and an alarm was raised on the morning of May 31 after the group failed to return to base camp.

Academic Richard Payne, from the University of York, is believed to be among the group of missing climbers.

Last month, the university said it was “extremely concerned” about Mr Payne, and said: “Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time.”

The four men who were rescued are Mark Thomas, 44, Zachary Quain, 32, Kate Armstone, 39 and Ian Wade, 45.

Climber Nigel Vardy, who has known Mr Moran for 20 years, previously described him as “an absolute professional and genuinely a really, really nice guy”.

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