Indian Air Force spots five bodies during search for missing Brit climbers

Pilots in the Indian Air Force have spotted five bodies in the search for eight mountain climbers missing in the Himalayas.

It is feared they were were swept away in an avalanche.

"They were on the same route as the climbers had taken," a source told AFP, referring to the bodies seen.

The group was led by UK-based mountain guide Martin Moran, who owns his own mountain trekking company Moran Mountain.

They were attempting to climb an unnamed peak close to Nanda Devi – a 6,447 metre (21,250 feet) mountain on the Indian side of the Himalayas.

The missing group is thought to have included four people from the UK, two Americans, an Australian and an Indian.

The alarm was raised for the climbers on Friday morning when they failed to return to their base camp.

Four Brits who were also on the expedition were rescued and have helped in the search.

The four rescued climbers were named by India TV as Mark Thomas, 44, Ian Wade, 45, Kate Armstrong, 39, and Zachary Quain, 32.

They were airlifted to safety after being spotted early on Sunday at Munsiyari base camp near Nanda Devi.

They had returned there to due to harsh weather.

"The weather conditions are not favourable," Sanjay Gunjiyal, a senior police official in the state, told Reuters. "The area is very avalanche prone."

The search was called off today despite the bodies being seen, according to Indian media, and will be resumed tomorrow.

The party was attempting to climb the 6,477 metre (21,250 feet) peak near Nanda Devi when their route was hit by a "sizeable avalanche" Moran Mountain, said on Monday.

It has been one of the deadliest climbing seasons in the Himalayas for several years.

More than 20 people have been killed in the mountains, including 11 on Mount Everest, the world's highest peak that has been plagued by poor weather, inexperienced climbers and overcrowding.

The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) confirmed it was in contact with Indian authorities about the missing climbers.

"We will do all we can to assist any British people who need our help," a spokesman said.

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