Admin plans to bring in IAF chopper for ops to retrieve bodies of missing climbers
A day after spotting the bodies of five mountaineers in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district, the authorities on Tuesday said they were planning to retrieve them with the help of an Indian Air Force helicopter.
The rescue team is likely to comprise the Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) and State Disaster Response Force (SDRF) personnel, officials said.
On Monday, rescuers on-board an IAF helicopter sighted the bodies of the five of eight missing mountaineers at a height of about 5,000 metres around 500 metres from the Nanda Devi peak. The rescue team, however, could not retrieve the bodies due to bad weather.
“After spotting the bodies, the administration informed the defence and home ministry about it. Both the departments then gave necessary directions to retrieve the bodies with required help,” said Uttarakhand chief secretary Utpal Kumar Singh. “The district administration of Pithoragarh is framing a strategy on how to conduct the retrieval process as a helicopter could not land at the spot where the bodies have been spotted. The members of the team would have to get down from the chopper and retrieve bodies.”
Pithoragarh’s district magistrate, Vijay Kumar Jogdande, said a draft of the strategy has been made and would soon be discussed with the authorities concerned. “The district administration has spoken with ITBP and SDRF for the operation.” He added they have received names of mountaineers from both the agencies. “Necessary equipments are being gathered after which the team would leave with the IAF chopper on Wednesday morning, depending on the weather condition.”
Earlier on Sunday, four British mountaineers were rescued from the Nanda Devi base camp.