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India launches mission to recover bodies of mountaineers

NEW DELHI (AP) — Indian officials say they will airdrop mountaineers at a site on a Himalayan mountain where pilots spotted five bodies while searching for a missing team of foreign climbers. Indo Tibetan Border Police officials say that the operation they are calling "Daredevils" was launched Wednesday to retrieve the bodies, which were seen by air on Nanda Devi East in India's Uttarakhand state.

Officials have said they presume all eight missing climbers are dead. Veteran British mountaineer Martin Moran led the team of four Britons, two Americans, an Australian and an Indian liaison officer. Moran's Scotland-based company said the climbers set out May 13. Contact with a separate trekking team at base camp was lost May 26 after an avalanche.

The bodies were spotted at an altitude of 5,000 meters (16,404 feet).

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