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Eight climbers missing in Indian Himalayas after possible avalanche

By
Renee Duffe, Accuweather, Accuweather.com
Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India with a peak of 25,643 feet. Photo by Sumod K Mohan/Wikimedia Commons
Nanda Devi is the second highest mountain in India with a peak of 25,643 feet. Photo by Sumod K Mohan/Wikimedia Commons

Emergency workers are searching for a group of eight climbers who went missing while climbing Nanda Devi, India's second tallest mountain.

British mountain guide Martin Moran, who runs a tour company called Moran Mountain, led the team out on the arduous journey to the 25,643-foot peak beginning on May 13.

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The group was scheduled to come back to base camp on Friday, but failed to return, according to BBC News.

Search efforts began on Saturday, but harsh weather conditions forced the operation to be called off during the evening hours, BBC News reported. Officials stated that there are indications an avalanche may have swept up the team.

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The operation resumed Sunday morning, with the Indian Air Force deploying two helicopters to aid in the search.

Senior Meteorologist Adam Douty said that search crews may have to contend with rain and snow showers across the higher elevations during the first half of this week.

"There may also be occasional periods when the summits will be in and out of the clouds," he said.

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"This is usually the drier time of the year across the region, which is why it is considered the best time to try to summit these mountains," Douty added.

Two Americans are among the group, which also consists of four people from the United Kingdom, one Australian and one Indian.

"We stand ready to provide appropriate assistance to U.S. citizens in need, and to their families," a U.S. State Department official told CBS News.

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Moran Mountain released a statement saying they were "working with authorities and the British Association of Mountain Guides to gather information regarding the Nanda Devi East expedition team."

"Out of respect for those involved and their families, we will be making no further comments at this time," the company stated.

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