The Pithoragarh district administration in Uttarakhand is still awaiting instructions from the Centre to take steps to retrieve the bodies of five mountaineers found dead the day before by the Indian Air Force on an unscaled peak near the Nanda Devi East peak, PTI reported on Tuesday.
“Thirty hours have passed since the bodies were sighted but we have not received any request so far to retrieve the bodies from any embassy or from the ministry,” District Magistrate VK Jogdande said.
Ten mountaineers from the State Disaster Response Force and the Indo-Tibetan Border Police are ready to retrieve the bodies. “After finalising technical details, the team will be sent to the spot in two groups, both by helicopters as well as on foot through the trek route to retrieve the bodies,” Jogdande added.
The magistrate said a report on the search-and-rescue mission has been sent to the Narendra Modi government.
The five mountaineers were part of an eight-member team led by experienced mountaineer Martin Moran. It included John McLaren, Richard Payne and Rupert Havel – all from the United Kingdom – Ruth Macrain from Australia, Anthony Sudecam and Rachel Bimmel from the United States, and liaison officer Chetan Pandey. However, it is not clear whose bodies were spotted.
The air search was conducted on the basis of clues provided by four British mountaineers, who were rescued on Sunday from a base camp of Nanda Devi.