Chance of finding climbers missing in the Himalayas is 'bleak' after avalanche

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The chances of finding eight missing climbers in the Himalayas alive is “bleak”, according to Indian officials.

It’s believed there is four Britons among the climbers, who have gone missing during an expedition in the Indian Himalayas.

For two days, two Indian air force helicopters and a rescue team have been searching for the climbers.

"The first aerial recce has concluded," said Pithoragarh district chief Vijay Kumar Jogdanda.

"There were only tents spotted, but no human presence. The second helicopter has left for the recce.

"Chances of survival are bleak," he added, confirming reports of an avalanche in the area where the climbers disappeared in an attempt to reach the summit of Nanda Devi.

The team of eight were climbing the 7,816-metre Nanda Devi, India's second highest mountain.

British-based mountain guide Martin Moran, who owns trekking company Moran Mountain, was leading the group.

Mark Charlton, president of the British Association of Mountain Guides (BMG), said in a post on the organisation's Facebook page that Mr Moran had been leading six clients and an Indian national.

"The BMG is assisting where possible and is in contact with the Indian authorities," he said.

"At the moment this is all the information we have as communication is very difficult."

A post on the Moran Mountain Facebook page said the company was working with authorities and the BMG to gather information about the expedition team.

An earlier post on May 13 showed the group beginning their trek "into the hills at Neem Kharoli Baba temple, Bhowali".

According to an update on May 22, the group had reached their second base camp at 4870m and were due to make a summit attempt on an unclimbed peak at 6477m.

A spokeswoman for the Foreign Office said: "We are in contact with the Indian authorities following reports that a number of British nationals are missing in the Indian Himalayas. We will do all we can to assist any British people who need our help."