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After 500-Hour Rescue Op, ITBP Releases Video of Last Moments of Nanda Devi Mountaineers

The ITBP rescue team recovered the video from the memory card of a camera mounted on a helmet of one of the mountaineers during the expedition.

Arunima | CNN-News18Arunima24

Updated:July 9, 2019, 8:51 AM IST
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After 500-Hour Rescue Op, ITBP Releases Video of Last Moments of Nanda Devi Mountaineers
The ITBP said the video in all likelihood was shot on the same day, minutes before an avalanche struck.

New Delhi: A month and a half after eight mountaineers went missing on the peaks of Nanda Devi range, a video has emerged of their last moments.

The Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has released the video that it recovered from the memory card of a camera mounted on a helmet of one of the mountaineers during the expedition. The eight climbers went missing on May 26 and the ITBP said the video in all likelihood was shot on the same day, minutes before an avalanche struck.

The ITBP Bareilly DIG who was leading the 11-member rescue operation, said the team brought back the mortal remains and belongings of seven mountaineers. ITBP Bareilly DG SS Deswal said, “During the operation, snowfall started and despite our best efforts, we could not locate the eighth mountaineer.”

A 12-member team of mountaineers from the UK, US, Australia and India had started their trek to Nanda Devi, the second highest peak in India, in May this year. Four UK nationals, who were rescued on June 2, revealed the eight mountaineers were missing from May 26. The Air Force had to drop its plans of rescue due to inclement weather and unsuitable conditions.

On June 14, the ITBP team launched a trek to the 21000-ft range and found the bodies buried in deep snow. From 17,000ft, the bodies were pulled up to 21,000ft and then brought down to 19,000 ft and further 15,000 ft, avoiding rocky surfaces to ensure that the corpses don’t suffer further damage, said APS Nimbadia, ITBP DIG Bareilly.

The 500-hour operation saw ITBP personnel burying the bodies in snow during breaks to prevent decomposition. “We treated the mortal remains as living beings, in some instances even sleeping with them in our tents to prevent any further damage from bad weather,” said RS Sonal, second-in-command and leader of the ITBP rescue team said. In recognition of the team’s brave act, the DG ITBP gave them cash awards.

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