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Nanda Devi tragedy: ITBP abandons search for eighth climber's body

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Press Trust of India Pithoragarh (U'khand)
ITBP mountaineers gave up their search on Thursday for the eighth member of a team of foreign climbers, who went missing on the way to the Nanda Devi East peak more than a month ago.
Seven bodies, believed to be those of the members of the team, were recovered by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) mountaineers on Sunday, but the search for the eighth body was on since then.
"However, due to inclement weather often hampering the operation, the team has finally decided to abandon the search for the eighth body," ITBP DIG (Kumaon range) APS Nimbadia told PTI.
The eighth team member possibly fell into a gorge, away from where the rest of the bodies were retrieved, he said.
"While seven mountaineers were attached with one rope, the eighth was not hanging with it at the time of the avalanche that seems to have caused their death," Nimbadia said.
The bodies were brought down to a temporary camp, 600 metres below the spot from where they were retrieved, he said.
The bodies might be airlifted to Pithoragarh on Friday, the official added.
The ITBP climbers had dug out the seven bodies, including that of a woman mountaineer, from under snow on the western ridge of the peak located at a height of 17,800 feet towards the Pindari glacier.
The operation named "Dare Devil" was assisted by Indian Air Force (IAF) helicopters, Nimbadia said.
The eight-member team, led by well-known British mountaineer Martin Moran, had gone missing on the way to the 7,434-metre-high Nanda Devi East peak in Uttarakhand's Pithoragarh district a little over a month ago.
The team comprised seven mountaineers from the UK, the US and Australia, besides a liaison officer from Delhi's Indian Mountaineering Foundation -- Chetan Pandey.
They had left Munsiyari on May 13 to scale the peak, but did not return to the base camp on the pre-appointed date of May 25.
Besides Pandey and Moran, the team had John McLaren, Richard Payne, Rupert Havel (all from the UK), Ruth Macrain (Australia), Anthony Sudekum and Rachel Bimmel (both from the US).
Moran had already scaled the peak twice in the past.

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First Published: Jun 27 2019 | 8:15 PM IST

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