Avalanche triggered by quake kill 22 at Mt. Everest

RSTV Bureau

EverstAt least 22 bodies have been recovered at the base camp on Mount Everest where hundreds of climbers, including many foreigners, are stranded after an avalanche triggered by Nepal’s massive earthquake slammed into a part of the camp on the world’s highest peak.

More than 60 climbers were injured and hundreds of foreign adventurers, hikers and guides at the base camp were feared missing when the avalanche swept down the Everest and buried under snow a section of the mountaineering camp on Saturday.

Twenty-two of the most seriously injured climbers were on Sunday ferried by helicopters, including from the Indian Air Force, to Pheriche village, the nearest medical facility, though bad weather is hampering rescue and relief operations.

There were more than 100 climbers also at camps 1 and 2 on Mount Everest, above the base camp, and all are reported safe, Nepal Mountaineering Association officials said on Sunday, adding it will take time before these people can be evacuated.

A mountaineering team of Indian Army who were hiking on Everest were also safe, an Indian army spokesman said.

One Chinese climber was among the dead while tech-firm Google today reported the death of one of its California-based executive, Dan Fredinburg, in the avalanche on Everest.

Tourism ministry officials estimated that at least 1,000 climbers, including about 400 foreigners, had been at the base camp when Nepal’s worst earthquake in 80 years yesterday noon triggered the avalanche on Everest. The quake also shook neighbouring India and China.

The death toll has crossed 2,000-mark, of which nearly 1,000 are reported killed in Kathmandu valley alone, according to the Home Ministry.

The avalanche began on Mount Kumori, a 7,000-meter-high mountain just a few miles from Everest, and gained strength as it headed downwards towards the base camp, flattening at least 30 tents.

An avalanche in April last year just above the base camp of Everest had killed 16 Sherpa guides.

Mount Everest, the world’s highest peak at 8,848 metre, is scaled by hundreds of climbers every year. The peak was first conquered by New Zealand climber Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay.