India

Nanda Devi: Search for eight climbers missing in Himalayas

Nanda Devi Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The group went missing while climbing Nanda Devi in the Indian Himalayas

A group of eight climbers has gone missing while climbing India's second highest mountain.

The team, which included four people from the UK, started to climb the 7,816-metre Nanda Devi East peak in the Himalayas on 13 May.

When they didn't return to the base camp as planned, a search and rescue team was sent to try to find them.

However, a local official has warned that heavy rains and snowfall are affecting the search.

"We have activated resources to trace the climbers after they failed to return to the base camp, but bad weather is hindering the operation," Vijay Kumar Jogdande, a magistrate in Pithoragarh district, told AFP news agency.

An Indian Air Force helicopter is also expected to be used on Sunday morning.

As well as the four climbers from Britain, the team also included two Americans, an Australian and an Indian.

They were being led by the experienced British mountain guide Martin Moran, whose Scotland-based company has run many expeditions in the Indian Himalayas.

Photos posted to Mr Moran's Facebook page the day before the start of the climb showed the group "starting their journey into the hills at Neem Kharoli Baba temple, Bhowali".

A later post on 22 May, posted from their second base camp at 4,870 metres, suggested that the group would attempt to summit a never-before-climbed peak on the mountain.

There have been conflicting reports about when exactly the group was scheduled to return. However, according to local media, they were due to reach the Nanda Devi base camp on Friday 31 May, and the nearby village of Munsiyari on 1 June.

A spokesperson for the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said: "We are in contact with the Indian authorities following reports that a number of British nationals are missing in the Indian Himalayas. We will do all we can to assist any British people who need our help."

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