This GoPro video showing the last hours of an ill-fated exhibition that ended with the loss of four British climbers in the Himalayas has been released by Indian authorities.
Video Credit: AsiaWire
The four were part of an international team of climbers which also included two Americans, an Australian and an Indian.
It shows the group linked together by a rope slowly and carefully making their way across a snow-covered ridge towards India’s second-highest peak of Nanda Devi. There is also footage of them climbing in poor lighting – and the third clip showing them roped together tackling a steep climb.
The released footage which lasts just over 2 and a half minutes was recovered from a GoPro camera that was found by an Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) search team. They put their lives at risk to bring the bodies down after they were spotted by helicopter, and said they also recovered personal items such as a toy penguin which had brought tears to the eyes of many of the rescue team.
They then published it on their Twitter account with the message: “Last visuals of the mountaineers’ team near the summit on unnamed peak near the #NandaDevi east. ITBP search team of mountaineers found the memory video device at 19K ft while they were searching the area where bodies were spotted.”
They said that the footage was found at a height of 5,800 metres (19,000 feet) with rescuers saying it gave an idea of the conditions the group faced in the background to the tragedy.
They vanished on 26th May following an avalanche while being led by British mountain guide Martin Moran who has been a guide since 1985. It was not revealed who had been carrying the camera but it was clearly the last person on the rope line as can be seen as they travel across the ridge.
Even ran his own company, Moran Mountain, from his Scottish Highland homes together with his wife Joy.
In addition to Martin Moran, the other climbers were named as John McLaren, Rupert Whewell and University of York lecturer Richard Payne, all from the UK, as well as the Americans Anthony Sudekum and Ronald Beimel, the Australian Ruth McCance and an Indian guide identified as Chetan Pandey.
APS Nambadia, the ITBP deputy inspector general who planned the operation to retrieve the bodies, said: “It was mesmerising for us to see the footage.”
“It will help us to analyse what went wrong with their mission. The GoPro has proved to be like the black box of an aircraft giving an insight into the last few moments of the climbers.”
Twelve climbers had started the expedition, with four Britons surviving.
Pictures Credit: AsiaWire