A helicopter mission to retrieve the bodies of five climbers in the Indian Himalayas will resume on Thursday if weather conditions are fine, it’s believed, after the operation was postponed due to wind.
The bodies were spotted 500 metres below where their eight-member international team, including an Australian, was hit by an avalanche.
Eight climbers – who also included four from Britain, two from the US and another from India – were reported missing last Friday after they failed to return to their base camp near Nanda Devi, India’s second highest mountain.
It is not known if the body of Sydney woman Ruth McCance is among the five bodies seen in high-resolution photographs taken by an Indian air force helicopter crew in a flyover on Monday.
The status of the other three climbers is not known. However, officials have said the possibility of their survival is remote, and their bodies could be near the five that have been spotted.
Amit Chowdhary, a spokesman for the Indian Mountaineering Foundation, said earlier this week he was “pretty much certain” the five climbers had been hit by an avalanche.
“There is no movement, therefore, it’s probably practical to presume that the possibilities of anyone being alive in this kind of massive avalanche is very, very weak.
“We were hopeful of being able to find some kind of life, but now things don’t look good at all,” he added.
The official said the paramilitary Indo-Tibetan Border Police Force was carrying out the mission on Wednesday. The bodies will be brought to the town of Pithoragarh in the northern Indian state of Uttarakhand.