Ten people were confirmed dead after one avalanche hit climbers in the Indian Himalayas, police said Wednesday, while another 18 members of the expedition are still missing. Several dozen climbers were caught in Tuesday morning’s avalanche near the summit of Mount Draupadi ka Danda-II in the northern state of Uttarakhand.
The Indian Air Force and the local disaster response agency were helping rescue efforts before heavy snowfall and rain forced them to abandon the search overnight.
“Rescue teams have recovered 10 bodies,” the Uttarakhand state police force said on Twitter after operations resumed in the morning.
Fourteen people have so far been rescued from the avalanche site, about 16,000 feet above sea level, and police said five are being treated at a district hospital in Uttarkashi.
Police footage shows several rescued climbers arriving in the town and walking unaided while being escorted by police.
Uttarakhand Chief Minister Pushkar Singh Dhami confirmed on Twitter that accomplished mountaineer Savita Kanswal, who had reached Everest earlier this year, was among the dead.
Kanswal was an instructor on the expedition and had been honored by the climbing community for summiting the world’s highest peak and nearby Makalu in just 16 days — a record for women.
Dhami said the government would provide immediate financial assistance to those injured in the avalanche along with the families of the victims.
State disaster agency spokesman Ridhim Aggarwal told AFP the climbers were stuck in a crevasse after the avalanche hit.
The Nehru Institute of Mountaineering said the expedition included 34 of the trainees, seven instructors and an assistant nurse.
Two air force helicopters were sent to the area to help with the search, senior disaster management official Devendra Singh Patwal told AFP.
Fatal climbing accidents are common in the treacherous Himalayan terrain, home to Mount Everest and many of the world’s highest peaks.
In August, the body of a climber was recovered two months after he fell into a crevasse while traversing a glacier in the neighboring state of Himachal Pradesh.
And last week, famous The body of American ski mountaineer Hilaree Nelson has been found on the slopes of Nepal’s Manaslu Peak after he went missing while skiing the world’s eighth highest mountain. Nelson fell from Mount Manaslu while skiing with her partner, Jim Morrison. She was given a traditional funeral at a Sherpa Crematorium on Sunday.
On the day of Nelson’s accident, an avalanche hit the 26,781-foot mountain, killing Nepali climber Anup Rai and injuring a dozen others who were later rescued.
Although no substantial research has been done on its effects climate change As for climbing hazards in the Himalayas, climbers reported widening crevasses, running water on previously snow-covered slopes and increasing formation of glacial lakes.