At least four mountaineers were killed on Tuesday in an avalanche in the Indian Himalayas, with around 25 others stuck in a crevasse, officials said.
Media reports put the toll at 10 following the incident at around 4,880 metres in the northern state of Uttarakhand involving a group of around 40 people.
"We have confirmation of four deaths out of the 33 people trapped. Around eight of them have already been rescued and the rest are trapped in a crevasse," said Ridhim Aggarwal from the State Disaster Response Force.
The group included 34 trainees from a local mountaineering institute and seven instructors, the Nehru Institute of Mountaineering said.
The avalanche struck at around 8.45am local time on the 5,670-metre Mount Draupadi ka Danda-II.
Vishal Ranjan, registrar with the mountaineering institute confirmed the four deaths and said the rescue operation "has been stopped for now because of heavy rainfall and snowfall in the region".
"We sent two air force choppers to the region and the third one is here on standby for now because of bad weather there," said Devendra Singh Patwal, a senior disaster management official.
"There has been no contact with the choppers for now because of the weather conditions and connectivity in the region," Patwal said.
"Deeply anguished by the loss of precious lives due to landslide which has struck the mountaineering expedition carried out by the Nehru Mountaineering Institute in Uttarkashi," Defence Minister Rajnath Singh tweeted, without giving further details.
Although no substantial research has been done on the impacts of climate change on mountaineering risks in the Himalayas, climbers have reported crevasses widening, running water on previously snowy slopes, and the increasing formation of glacial lakes. (AFP)