INDIAN Air Force helicopters on Wednesday undertook three sorties to retrieve bodies of five mountaineers lying near the Nanda Devi East Peak in Uttarakhand but high speed sharp winds hampered their efforts. Considering the tough terrain, the operation of retrieving bodies might extend beyond a week, Pithoragarh District Magistrate V K Jogdande said.
He said that three sorties were undertaken from Pithoragarh to retrieve the bodies but the helicopters could not hover over and get down at the spot where five bodies were found. High speed sharp winds at the peak did not let the IAF helicopters with ITBP mountaineers on board get down, he said. “Besides the aerial operation, the administration will also try to reach the spot by the land route tomorrow to retrieve the bodies,” he said. “We are being joined by 35 State Disaster Response Force men tonight who will be divided into two groups.
One will be sent to the spot by land route while the other will try to reach the spot by air,” the DM said. “Due to continuous snowfall in the region the bodies might be covered by snow which would further complicate the challenge for the rescue team,” he said. IAF helicopters had on Monday spotted the bodies of five of the eight mountaineers who went missing recently on way to the Nanda Devi East peak.
The bodies had been sighted near an unscaled peak adjoining the Nanda Devi East peak during a search by IAF helicopters. The bodies were of mountaineers belonging to the eight-member team comprising climbers from the UK, US and Australia that went missing en route to the Nanda Devi East peak.