A group of 41 mountaineers was hit by avalanche on Tuesday, killing four people and causing several others to be missing, the mountaineering institute in northern India said.
The group, consisting of 34 mountaineering trainees and seven instructors, was hit by the avalanche at 8.45 am local time, the institute said.
The group was hit by an avalanche on a mountain peak in the Gangotri range of the Garhwal Himalayas on Tuesday morning, said Ashok Kumar, Uttarakhand state police chief. Rescuers pulled eight survivors from the snow and took them to the hospital.
Four bodies were recovered, while officials from the state and national disaster response forces and the Indian air force scoured the area, said the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering, part of the defence ministry.
The Indian air force is doing an aerial reconnaissance of the mountain where this happened. It is not easy to reach the spot, Kumar said.
The trainees preparing for high altitude navigation were returning from the Draupadi ka Danda-II mountain peak of 5,670 metres.
Uttarakhand state s top elected official, Pushkar Singh Dhami, said that the national disaster response force and Indian military sent teams to help with rescue efforts. The Indian air force sent two helicopters to search for the missing.
A former Indian air force officer Amit Chowdhary, an official at the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation and a former Indian air force officer, said it had happened for the first time that a large group of trainee mountaineers had been killed in an avalanche.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that he was deeply anguished by the loss of lives. My condolences to the families who have lost their loved ones. Avalanches are common in the mountainous areas of Uttarakhand. A glacier burst in 2021 resulted in a flash flood that killed more than 200 people.