Bodies of mountaineers, who went missing on way to the Nanda Devi East peak in Uttarakhand, will have to be dug out as they have sunk deeper under snow with fresh avalanches witnessed in the area.
IAF helicopters had sighted five bodies lying near an unscaled peak near the western ridge of the Nanda Devi peak on June 3.
The ITBP team which has gone to retrieve the bodies will have to dig them out as they have gone down further under snow following fresh avalanches in high altitudes, Pithoragarh District Magistrate VK Jogdande said, quoting ITBP sources.
"The ITBP has called its high altitude porters from Uttarkashi to dig out and take the bodies from the spot located at a height of 17800 feet to the base camp 2 at 13000 feet," DIG ITBP APS Nimbaria said.
Indian Air force helicopters will take the bodies from the camp to the district headquarters at Pithoragarh, he said.
On preparations by the search and rescue expedition to trace the foreign mountaineers lying at the ridge since June 25, the district magistrate said all logistics have been lifted to Base 2, camp of Nanda Devi east peak by the IAF helicopters and after acclimatising for three days, the expedition will move to the spot after four days.
Besides the ITBP team, a 14-member Indian Mountaineering Foundation team led by experienced mountaineer Dhrub Joshi is heading towards the Nanda Devi region from the Pindari glacier side to retrieve the bodies.
"The team has reached Pindari Glacier camp today will reach the spot in three days and will start searching for the mountaineers," said Bageshwar District Magistrate Ranjana Rajguru.
"It is a challenging work as the team will have to ascend at 70 degree slopes in hostile region full of snow storms, therefore it will take the team at least seven days' time to reach the spot when it starts ascending after four days of acclimatisation," said the ITBP DIG.
Meanwhile, IAF helicopters Saturday lifted 15 ITBP mountaineers to base camp 2. Rest of the 32 team members have already reached the spot.
"We have also lifted all the equipment needed for rescue and search operation in snowy regions," said Mr Jogdande.