Massive Avalanche Struck Climbers in Nepal, 9 Dead 6 Missing

A massive avalanche on a Himalayan peak in Nepal struck a base camp near the summit on Sunday morning. At least nine climbers are dead and six more are missing as the avalanche scooped up Europeans and others.

Seven bodies have been recovered, and the other eight are believed to be covered in snow, said Yograj Kadel of the Simrik Air, which rescued the mountaineers by helicopter.

Another 13 people were rescued, he said.

The mountaineers were at an altitude of 6,600 meters (21,650 feet), Kadel said. The mountain is 8,163 meters (26,780 feet) high.

Only two persons — German citizen Chris and a Nepali Sherpa guide — have so far been identified, said Mohan Sapkota of Mountaineering Section at Tourism Ministry.

Attempts to look for the missing will continue on Monday, Kadel said.

According to Nepal tourism officials, 231 foreign mountaineers from 25 teams were attempting to climb the mountain in the current autumn season that ends in November.

Police official Basanta Bahadur Kuwar was quoted as saying to the Associated Press news agency that 10 people had survived the avalanche but many among them were injured.

They were being flown to hospitals by rescue helicopters, he added.

Officials are trying to determine exactly how many people were in the climbing party.

Deteriorating weather conditions meant it was impossible to continue air searches of the mountain on Sunday, Mr Kuwar said.

The climbers were caught at 7,000m (22,960ft) as they were preparing to head toward the summit.

“The avalanche hit camp three of the Manaslu peak… resulting in a flood of snow,” said Laxmi Dhakal, head of the Nepalese home ministry’s disaster response division.

Hundreds of foreign climbers head every year for the Himalayas in Nepal, which has eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains, including Mount Everest.
Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world, is considered one of the most dangerous, with dozens of deaths in recent years.

Everything was normal and the weather was also clear as the climbers were heading towards the peak for making the summit next day, when the avalanche suddenly hit them, they said.

The autumn climbing season began this month.