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Avalanche kills 9 ITBP mountaineers

September 21, 2003 15:46 IST

All nine members of an Indo-Tibetan Border Police mountaineering expedition were killed in an avalanche in Uttaranchal's Pithoragarh district on Saturday, officials said on Sunday.

The tragedy occurred when the team, including three Everesters and two porters, was descending after conquering the 22,652-feet-high Panchachuli peak, they said.

Two Indian Air Force helicopters began searching for the team soon after it lost contact with the base camp. They recovered the bodies of seven, District Magistrate Navin Chander Sharma said.

Two more bodies are still to be found, but officials are now certain that they have not survived. The recovered bodies have not been identified as yet.

Three of the team membersĀ  -- S D Sharma, Shange Sherpa and Dava Sherpa -- have climbed Mount Everest.

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