Bodies of seven climbers who went missing in the Himalayas amid series of avalanches are recovered

Bodies of seven climbers who went missing in the Himalayas amid series of avalanches are recovered

June 24, 2019

THE bodies of seven climbers who went missing amid avalanches in the Himalayas last month have been recovered, it was revealed last night.

A rescue team is searching for the body of an eighth climber, Indian officials said.

Four Brits, two Americans, an Australian and an Indian made up the group – who had been attempting to climb India's second-highest peak.

They went missing in a ridge between two glaciers at an altitude of 17,650ft near Nanda Devi last month.

It is believed the mountain was hit by avalanches when the climbers were trying to scale one of the peaks.

Contact was lost on May 26 – a day before a major avalanche hit the mountain.


The group was being led by experienced Brit mountain guide Martin Moran, whose company Moran Mountain has run numerous expeditions in the Indian Himalayas.

The rest of the group were John McLaren, Rupert Whewell and University of York lecturer Richard Payne from the UK.

US nationals Anthony Sudekum and Ronald Beimel were also part of the team as well as Australian Ruth McCance and Indian guide Chetan Pandey.

Five of their bodies were spotted by an Indian rescue mission earlier this month.

But attempts to retrieve them were postponed after a helicopter failed multiple times to drop rescuers on the peak.


The team was attempting to reach the top of an unclimbed peak in a remote area.

Officials previously said that all eight of the missing climbers are presumed dead – while four others who were part of the group were rescued.

Earlier this month, a mission was launched to recover five bodies spotted during the search for the missing group of eight.

The bodies, which are said to have been found at an altitude of more than 16,400ft, will be brought to base camp to be formally identified.


Mr Moran, originally from Tyneside, has been a mountain guide since 1985.

He set up his company – Moran Mountain, based in Strathcarron in the Scottish Highlands – with his wife Joy and their grown-up children Hazel and Alex also work for the business.

In an earlier statement, his family said: "We are deeply saddened by the tragic events unfolding in the Nanda Devi region of the Indian Himalayas.

"As a family, we share the same emotions that all next of kin are experiencing in not knowing the whereabouts or well-being of those closest to us."


The Moran family explained how the group "had set out to attempt an unclimbed, unnamed summit, Peak 6477m, and the last contact intimated that all was well".

But they said that it is "not entirely clear" what happened next, and an alarm was raised on the morning of May 31 after the group failed to return to base camp.

Academic Richard Payne is believed to be among the group of missing climbers.

Last month, the University of York said it was "extremely concerned" about Mr Payne, and said: "Our thoughts are with his family, friends and colleagues at this difficult time."

The four men who were rescued are Mark Thomas, 44, Zachary Quain, 32, Kate Armstone, 39 and Ian Wade, 45.

Climber Nigel Vardy, who has known Mr Moran for 20 years, previously described him as "an absolute professional and genuinely a really, really nice guy".

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