7 killed, 2 missing after storm sweeps Nepal mountain

Marsha Scott
October 14, 2018

The deceased include five South Koreans.

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

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. A heavy snowstorm followed by a landslide buried the base camp at an altitude of 3,500 metres when the climbers were awaiting for a fair weather to move towards higher camps, he said.

He said: 'Everything is gone, all the tents are blown apart'.

Another attempt will be made Sunday, he added.

Police reports say the storm struck while the group were at their base camp, which was destroyed.

The previous year, 16 Sherpas were killed on Everest when an avalanche swept through the Khumbu Icefall.

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Mount Gurja, which is not among the popular mountains in Nepal, lies near the 8,167-metre Dhaulagiri, the world's seventh highest peak. But the Italian was at 6,900 metres when his tent was swept off the mountain, whereas the South Korean team were below 4,000 metres when they were hit by powerful winds.

The climbers had been waiting for a window of good weather so they could reach the summit, when the storm hit Friday.

The group, five South Koreans and their four Nepali guides, were trying to ascend Mount Gurja, a 7,193m (23,599ft) peak.

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.

Trekking Camp Nepal Managing Director Wangchu Sherpa said the Nepalese climbers who were killed have been identified as Chhiring Bhote and Lakpa Sangbu Bhote from Shankhuwasabha district, Natra Bahadur Chantel from Myagdi district, and Phurbu Bhote.

The tragedy was one the deadliest mountaineering accidents to hit the Himalayan nation in the past few years.

The South Korean team were planning to scale the mountain via a never-climbed route, according to the Korean Alpine Federation.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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