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  1. ITV Report

Helicopters retrieve seven bodies believed to be Himalayan climbers

Helicopters have recovered seven out of the eight bodies. Credit: Indo Tibetan Border Police/AP

Seven bodies believed to be from a missing team of international climbers have been retrieved in helicopters from a notoriously dangerous Himalayan mountain in northern India, officials said.

The bodies were taken to Pithoragarh in northern India's Uttarakhand state in Indian Air Force helicopters, local civil administrator Vijay Jogdande said.

He said the seven remain unidentified as their faces are damaged and no identifying papers were found.

Veteran British mountaineer Martin Moran was leading three other Britons, two Americans, an Australian and an Indian on an expedition to climb Nanda Devi East - India's second highest mountain.

The climbers were ascending Nanda Devi East, the second highest mountain in India. Credit: Maninder Kohli/Juniper Outdoor Pursuits Centre/AP

The group were attempting to reach the top of an unclimbed 6,477-metre peak in a remote area on Nanda Devi East.

The group included John McLaren, Rupert Whewell and University of York lecturer Richard Payne from the UK; US nationals Anthony Sudekum and Ronald Beimel; Australian Ruth McCance; and Indian guide Chetan Pandey.

Mr Moran’s Scotland-based company said contact with the team was lost on May 26 after an avalanche.

Not all of the team who set off on the expedition took part in the fatal climb.

An eighth body has not been found.

Nanda Devi is a notoriously dangerous mountain in India. Credit: ITV News

Soldiers reached the bodies on June 23, but they were spotted by air nearly two weeks before.

Ground expeditions by Indian authorities were launched, as helicopters had failed to reach the area because of poor weather conditions.

Mr Moran had been a mountain guide since 1985 and set up his company – Moran Mountain, based in Strathcarron in the Scottish Highlands – with his wife Joy, while their grown-up children, Hazel and Alex, also work for the business.

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

Academic Richard Payne, from the University of York, is believed to be among the missing climbers.