Nanda Devi expedition: Body of team leader not found

Veteran British mountaineer Martin Moran led three other Britons, two Americans, an Australian and an Indian up Nanda Devi East. (PTI Photo)

Noted British mountaineer Martin Moran who led the eight-member team that perished on way to the Nanda Devi East peak was the lone climber of the group whose body could not be found.       

The fact emerged after the identification of the seven bodies recovered from the western ridge of the peak was completed on Saturday, Nainital District Magistrate Savin Bansal said.        

Moran was a well-known mountaineer who had already scaled the peak twice in the past.        

The eight-member team was reported missing on May 25 but it took the ITBP nearly one month to retrieve seven bodies from the western ridge of the peak on June 23 after a massive operation often hampered by inclement weather.         

While the body of Indian Mountaineering Foundation liaison officer Chetan Pandey, who was part of the team, was identified by relatives on Wednesday itself the remaining six were identified on Saturday after their photographs were sent to their respective embassies and high commissions in Delhi, he said. Those identified today included John Charles McLaren, Richard Payne and Rupert James Whewell from Britain, Anthony Edward Sudekum and Ronald Isaac Beimel from the US and Ruth Margaret Mc Cance, the lone woman mountaineer of the group from Australia, he said.  

The body of the lone Indian in the team was identified quickly as he hailed from neighbouring Almora and his relatives rushed to Haldwani to identify it, he said.      

The bodies kept at the mortuary of Haldwani's Sushila Tiwari Hospital will be handed over to officials of their respective diplomatic missions, the DM said. 

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