Uttarakhand avalanche: At least 10 dead and dozens missing in Indian Himalayas

Uttarakhand avalanche: At least 10 dead and dozens missing in Indian Himalayas

The 41-strong team were practising high-altitude navigation when they were hit on their way down.


At least 10 people have been killed and many more are missing after an avalanche struck a team of mountaineers high in the Indian Himalayas.

The 34 trainees and seven instructors were practising navigation when they were hit on their descent from a peak in the northern state of Uttarakhand.

The party was swept into a crevasse. Police now say 14 people have been rescued, while nearly 20 are missing.

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The Indian Air Force is helping with the rescue efforts.

The group was made up of trainees from the nearby Nehru Institute of Mountaineering. It said they had been returning from Mount Draupadi Danda-2 (5,670m; 18,602 feet) when the avalanche struck.

Authorities were alerted at around 09:30 local time (04:00 GMT) on Tuesday, rescue workers said.

Search efforts were paused overnight because of rain and snowfall but resumed on Wednesday.

Uttarakhand police chief Ashok Kumar told ANI news agency that rescue teams could restart operations as the weather had cleared up. "Today six bodies have been recovered. And till now a total of 10 bodies have been recovered," he said.

Earlier, Mr Kumar had told Reuters news agency that the Indian Air Force was doing an aerial recce of the mountain as "it wasn't easy to reach the spot" where the accident happened.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh wrote on Twitter: "Deeply anguished by the loss of precious lives due to landslide which has struck the mountaineering expedition carried out by the Nehru Mountaineering Institute in Uttarkashi."

It comes a week after the body of famed US ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson was found in the Nepali Himalayas.

Ms Nelson, regarded as one of the greatest mountaineers of her generation, was reported to have fallen into a deep crevasse after reaching the summit of Mount Manaslu.

On the same day she went missing, one person was killed and more than a dozen injured in an avalanche lower down on the same peak.