13 sherpas killed in massive avalanche on Mt Everest
A massive avalanche on Friday struck Mount Everest killing at least 13 Nepalese Sherpa guides and injuring several others in one of the most lethal mountaineering accidents in recent history on the world’s highest peak.
An official from the mountaineering division at the Nepalese tourism ministry said 13 bodies had so far been recovered and ferried to base camp, while a further three injured climbers were being taken to Kathmandu. As many as seven climbers are still thought to be missing.
‘The avalanche hit the Nepalese Sherpa guides and climbers as they were heading towards Camp I from the Base Camp of the Everest,’ said Tilak Pandey, an official at mountaineering division of tourism ministry.
‘There were around 15 climbers from six different expeditions including Alpine Ascent and Summit Nepal, when the avalanche swept them away,’ he said.
The accident comes during the peak climbing months of April and May as hundreds of climbers converged at base camp in the hope of scaling the 8,848-metre-high summit.
Nearly 100 Sherpa guides and climbers have been trapped above the avalanche site. Ethnic Sherpas acts as guides for the mostly-foreign clients.
A spokesman for Nepal’s tourism ministry said that some missing climbers had been rescued, but more are still missing.
The avalanche occurred at around 6:45 am at an altitude of about 5,800 metres in an area known as the ‘popcorn field’ which lies on the route into the treacherous Khumbu icefall.
The local guides had climbed up the slope early in the morning to fix ropes for climbers and prepare the route for mountaineers when the avalanche hit, officials said. Himalayan Rescue Association in association with Nepal Army, Armed Police Force personnel and mountain guides carried out the rescue operation at the site, Nepal Trekking Association said.