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  1. ITV Report

Five bodies spotted as search for eight climbers missing in Himalayas suspended

Indian air force pilots have spotted five bodies in the search for eight climbers missing in the Himalayas before the operation was suspended for the day.

Martin Moran, who is originally from Tyneside, was leading a party of eight who were attempting to reach the top of an unclimbed peak in a remote area.

Martin Moran, who founded Moran Mountain in Lochcarron, in the Highlands of Scotland in the mid-1980s, led the expedition. Credit: Facebook

District magistrate Dr Vijay Kumar Jogdande said the bodies were found before the rescue operation in the northern state of Uttarakhand was suspended because of heavy snowfall and high winds.

He added that officials are consulting the Indian army on how to retrieve the bodies before the search for the three others resumes on Tuesday.

The Nanda team began their journey into the hills at Neem Kharoli Baba temple, Bhowali. Credit: Moran Mountain Facebook

The eight-member expedition set out to scale a 6,477m (21,250ft) peak and had last been in touch with base camp on May 26.

Mr Moran's family have said it was "not entirely clear" what had happened to the group - which included another three British climbers - but said there was "clear evidence that a sizeable avalanche had occurred on the mountain".

Mr Moran has been a mountain guide since 1985 and set up his company, Moran Mountain, which is based in Strathcarron in the Highlands, together with his wife Joy - with the couple's grown-up children Hazel and Alex both also working for the family business.

The rescue operation is set to resume today. Credit: Moran Mountain Facebook

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

As well as four Britons, the group is thought to include two American climbers, one Australian and one person from India.

Officials said that four other British members of the expedition team had already been rescued.

The rescued group, who had stayed back at the second base camp, were brought down on Sunday and given first aid at a hospital in the town of Pithoragarh and later released.

The Indian air force has joined the search for eight climbers missing in the Himalayas. Credit: PA

They included leader Mark Thomas, 44, along with Zachary Quain, 32, Kate Armstone, 39, and Ian Wade, 45.

They had been in touch with the missing climbers until around May 26, according to the authorities.

A spokesperson for the Foreign Office 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."

– Foreign Office spokesperson