Nepal storm kills climbers attempting Himalaya peak

Leroy Wright
October 13, 2018

Wangchu Sherpa, of the Trekking Camp Nepal agency, said the rescue helicopter sent to look for the climbers could not land due to poor visibility.

A sixth South Korean national was staying in a village in the valley below the mountain when the powerful storm struck and survived, according to a local police report.

Niraula didn't disclose the names of the missing climbers and porters and gave no further details of the incident, which involves the largest group to be hit by a climbing accident in Nepal in two years.

Helicopter pilot Siddartha Gurung, who was among the first people to reach the site, said the area had been totally destroyed and bodies were scattered everywhere. The other South Korean climbers who died have been identified as Lee Jaehun, Rim Il-jin, Yoo Youngjik, and Jeong Joon-mo.

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

A team that reached the site at 3 500 metres above sea level found seven bodies, Bir Bahadur Budha, deputy superintendent of police in Myagdi district, said.

The group were reported missing after expedition organisers raised the alarm when they lost contact with the group for almost 24 hours.

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The climbers had been waiting for the bad weather to clear so they could begin their climb on the risky Himalayan peak.

The bodies of eight climbers - four South Koreans and four Nepali guides - were spotted near the wreckage of their camp by a rescue team on Saturday morning, but strong winds were hampering the search effort.

"Rescuers will try to recover the bodies on Sunday", the official said.

The storm is the deadliest incident to hit Nepal's mountaineering industry since 18 people were killed at the Mount Everest base camp in 2015 in an avalanche triggered by a powerful natural disaster.

The area lies about 216 km (135 miles) northwest of Nepal's capital, Kathmandu.

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.

The rarely-climbed Mount Gurja sits in Nepal's Annapurna region, next to avalanche-prone Dhaulagiri, the world's seventh highest mountain. No-one has stood on it's summit since 1996.

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