Tuesday, 18 December, 2018

Search begins for nine climbers killed on Nepal peak

Avalanche hits Nepal peak 9 climbers killed World 13 Oct 2018 Nepal Avalanche hits Mt. Gurja 5 S Koreans among 9 killed W
Andrew Cummings | 14 October, 2018, 09:01

At least seven mountaineers were killed after their camp on a Himalayan peak in western Nepal was hit by a storm, police said on Saturday, in the country's worst climbing disaster in two years.

Villagers who reached base camp on Saturday afternoon found the bodies of four South Korean climbers, two Nepalese guides and another person yet to be identified, while the search was continuing for two more, Budamagar said.

A rescue helicopter sent to the site was unable to land because of poor visibility but the pilot was able to see the area had been devastated.

South Korea's foreign ministry said it is closely cooperating with the Nepalese government for the retrieval of the bodies.

The group of South Korean climbers and their Nepali guides had been camped at the foot of the 7,193-metre (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, waiting for a window of good weather so they could attempt to reach the summit.

He added: 'Everything is gone, all the tents are blown apart'. The deceased include five South Koreans.

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Mount Gurja, also called Gurja Himal, while not famous as one of Nepal's most challenging peaks, is part of the Dhaulagiri range, which is topped by Dhaulagiri I, the seventh-highest mountain in the world.

The previous year, 16 Sherpas were killed on Everest when an avalanche swept through the Khumbu Icefall during the busy spring climbing season.

"The fact that they were so low when it happened is unusual", said experienced German climber Billi Bierling, who was forced to call off her own summit bid on Dhaulagiri last month because of heavy snowfall and high winds.

Kim Chang-ho, who climbed the 14 highest mountains in the world in the fastest time in 2013, was one of the climbers who died.

According to the Himalayan Database, no-one has stood on Gurja's summit since 1996.

Nine climbers had been reported missing.

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