Four British climbers were rescued on Sunday from a base camp of the Nanda Devi peak in Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district which has been hit by avalanches, AFP reported on Sunday. At 7,816 metre, Nanda Devi is India’s second highest mountain.
Indian Air Force choppers airlifted the group to safety. The rescued climbers were identified as Mark Thomas, Ian Wade, Kate Armstrong and Zachary Quain, reported ANI. They were administered first-aid at the helipad.
Rescue operations have been under way after an eight-member team of climbers, including seven foreign nationals, went missing on their way to Nanda Devi peak. Emergency workers, who have been searching the peaks, spotted the four British climbers at a base camp.
Authorities said the four rescued were not part of the eight-member team but were in touch with them. “They were climbing separately but were in touch with them until May 26, a day before the avalanche struck the mountain,” RC Rajguru, the police chief of Pithoragarh district, told AFP. “Heavy snowfall and bad weather had left them struck at the base camp.”
Rajguru said there was no certain information on the location or safety of the eight mountaineers. The group had left Munsiyari village on May 13. The group was supposed to return to Munsiyari on June 1. A rescue team was sent to look for the climbers after they did not return to the Nanda Devi base camp. The team included four mountaineers from the United Kingdom, two from the United States and an Australian. They were accompanied by a liaison officer from the Indian Institute of Mountaineering.
“The first aerial recce has concluded and one tent was spotted, but there were no signs of human movement,” Pithoragarh District Magistrate Vijay Kumar Jogdande told The Guardian. He said visibility was poor and bad weather was hampering the operations.