Search team members use probe devices to
© Mingma Gyalje Sherpa
Search team members use probe devices to locate the missing climbers.
A high-altitude search and rescue team recovered the bodies of three French climbers buried under two metres of snow, days after they had gone missing on the slope of a mountain hit by an avalanche in the Everest region.

Inspector Rishi Raj Dhakal, chief of the Solukhumbu district police office, told the Post that the search team had located the bodies on Sunday. The bodies, however, were retrieved on Monday and airlifted to Kathmandu for postmortem, he said.

The three climbers—Thomas Arfi, Gabriel Miloche and Louis Pachoud—were reported missing on October 31. According to reports, they had last made contact on October 26 via satellite phone from their camp.

They were apparently caught in an avalanche.

"The bodies were recovered at 11 am on Sunday buried nearly two metres under the snow," said Mingma Gyalje Sherpa, a member of the search and rescue team mobilised by the Nepal National Mountain Guides Association.

"All three bodies were found in the same location."

The three young climbers were part of an eight-member expedition team. The group had been issued permits to climb two mountains—6,783-metre Mt Khangtega and 6,423-metre Mt Cholatse—both in the Everest region.

The climbers had split into two groups to tackle the two mountains, according to an official at the Department of Tourism, the government agency that issues the climbing permits.

The department issued the permits for Mt Khangtega and Nepal Mountaineering Association issued permits for Mt Cholatse for all eight members.

The association has been allowed, by the government, to manage 27 small peaks known as 'trekking peaks' which range in height from 5,587 to 6,654 metres.