The toll from the Uttarkashi avalanche rose to 26 as seven more bodies were recovered on Friday, the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering (NIM) said in a statement on Friday. Fifteen bodies were recovered on Thursday as a rescue operation in Uttarkashi continued days after the avalanche hit a 41-member team of mountaineering trainees and instructors from NIM. Three members of the expedition remained missing.
Twelve people have been rescued so far. Four bodies, including that of ace mountaineer Savita Kanswal, 26, who set a national record by climbing Mount Everest and Mount Makalu within 16 days earlier this year, were recovered on Tuesday.
The NIM statement said the search and rescue operation was in progress at the disaster site. The bodies of Kanswal, another instructor Naumi, 24, and trainees Shivam Kainthala (Shimla) and Ajay Bisht (of Almora), were flown from NIM's advance base camp (13,600 feet) on two Indian Air Force helicopters to Harsil helipad from where they were taken to Uttarkashi district hospital through road due to bad weather.
The search for remaining missing trainee mountaineers and instructors was underway. "Bad weather prevails at Draupadi Ka Danda peak," said district disaster management officer Devendra Patwal.
The 41-member group was hit near the Dokrani Bamak glacier when it was returning from high-altitude navigation from Mount Draupadi ka Danda-2 peak (5,670 m) on Tuesday.