Indian soldier's body found in Himalayas after 45 years

SHIMLA, India - The body of an Indian soldier who died in a plane crash 45 years ago has been found in the Himalayas and will be given a military funeral, the army said Sunday.

A team found the soldier's body, still wearing a uniform with personal identification documents in the pocket, on August 22 - more than four decades after he and 101 others died when an army transport aircraft crashed in February 1968.

The man, identified as Jagmail Singh, came from Meerpur village in Haryana state south of the Himalayas, an army spokesman said.

"Bad weather hasn't allowed us to fly the body home yet for a military funeral," he told AFP.

The remains were recovered at an altitude of 18,000 feet (5,400 metres) on the Dhakka glacier in Himachal Pradesh state.

"His identity was established by an identity disc, an insurance policy and a letter from his family which was found in his pocket," the spokesman said.

The plane took off from a fog-shrouded runway in the city of Chandigarh and was headed for the Himalayan town of Leh.

Halfway to his destination, the pilot decided to turn back due to bad weather.

The aircraft last made radio contact near the 13,050 feet Rohtang pass, before vanishing.

Trekkers stumbled upon its wreckage in 2003 after finding the partially frozen body of a soldier on the glacier, in a particularly remote stretch of the Himalayas.

The army mounted three search missions in the years up to 2009 and recovered four more bodies.

The latest search started on August 13, with the aim of retrieving more bodies as well as a flight recorder that could help explain the cause of the crash.

The Himalayas have long been an icy graveyard for those who disappear in them.

A 1999 expedition to Mount Everest discovered the frozen body of British mountaineer George Mallory, who vanished in 1924 as he tried to reach the world's highest point.