Bad weather hampers recovery of bodies from Indian peak

NEW DELHI (AP) — Bad weather has delayed the recovery of the bodies of international climbers who went missing while attempting to scale an unclimbed Himalayan peak in northern India, officials said Monday.

Veteran British mountaineer Martin Moran was leading a team which included three other Britons, two Americans, an Australian and an Indian on the expedition on Nanda Devi East.

On Sunday, paramilitary soldiers found the bodies of seven of the eight climbers at an altitude of more than 5,000 meters (16,400 feet) on the notoriously dangerous mountain. The eighth climber has not yet been found.

Paramilitary spokesman Vivek Pandey said poor weather on Monday prevented helicopters from operating in the area. He said soldiers were still searching the snow-covered area for the eighth climber.

The bodies have not yet been identified.

Moran’s Scotland-based company said contact with the team was lost on May 26 following an avalanche. Officials said they are all presumed dead.

Five bodies believed to be from the missing team were spotted by air nearly two weeks ago. Ground expeditions by Indian paramilitary forces and the Indian Mountaineering Foundation were launched after helicopter missions failed to reach the area.

Nanda Devi, sandwiched between India and China, is the world’s 23rd-highest peak.

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