Nine climbers killed in Nepal

Mount Gurja in Nepal's Dhaulagiri range
Image Mount Gurja in Nepal's Dhaulagiri range

15 October, 2018

Five South Koreans and four Nepali guides on a Himalayan climbing expedition were flung to their deaths after a huge block of ice crashed over a cliff into a narrow mountain gorge, a helicopter rescue official said on Monday.

Trekking Camp Nepal managing director Wangchu Sherpa, who organised the Mount Gurja expedition, said the alarm was raised after the South Korean team was not heard from for almost 24 hours.

The permit listed four South Korean climbers, but a fifth member joined the team later, according to Mr Suresh Dakal of Trekking Camp Nepal.

"It seems that seracs [glacial ice] and snow fell from high on the mountain and the strong gusts of winds from that hit the campsite, throwing the climbers off", one rescuer, Suraj Paduyal told news wire AFP.

Agence France-Presse reporter Ammu Kannampilly (2R), and Nepalese guide Pasang Sherpa (R) stand on a ridge over a valley leading north into the Khumbu region as they try to get a clear view of Mt. Everest on April 18, 2015.

"We notified the family members of the dead climbers that it's hard to go to Nepal", the official said. They are being taken to the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu.

A helicopter reached the site about 100 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu and managed to land just above the team's camp, but personnel were unable to retrieve any of the bodies.

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In 2013, he became the fastest person to summit the world's 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Santa Lama of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, who helped with coordinating the rescue, said since all nine people at the camp were killed and no surviving witnesses it was hard to say what exactly happened or when.

Word of the destruction got out Saturday morning, and helicopters were sent.

One of the world's best mountaineers was among nine climbers killed when a storm ripped through their camp on the slopes of Mount Gurja in Nepal.

Only 30 people have ever reached the summit of Mount Gurja with the last successful ascent recorded in 1996, according to the Himalayan Database.

Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, including Mount Everest, and the autumn climbing season is now at its height.

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