September 23, 2012

9 climbers killed in Nepal avalanche

KATHMANDU: An avalanche in Nepal killed at least nine climbers including a group of French mountaineers trying to scale one of the world’s most deadly peaks, officials said on Sunday.

Around 25 people were near the top of the 8,156-metre Manaslu when they were hit by a wall of snow on Saturday night in one of the worst tragedies in Himalayan mountaineering in recent years.
“Most of the dead people are French,” said Ang Tshering Sherpa, vice-president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, after speaking to expedition members at the base camp of Manaslu by satellite telephone.
“One or two are Spanish, one Italian, one (Nepali) Sherpa and one German.”Three climbers were thought to still be missing when rescue operations were called off for the night.
“So far, 13 people have been rescued alive, of whom five have been airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment,” Basanta Bahadur Kunwar, the local deputy superintendent of police, told AFP by telephone.
France’s national union of mountain guides (SNGM) said four French climbers were killed and three others were reported missing.
“According to information from the base camp, there were seven French victims. The four dead have been identified by their photos and three are missing, as well as two injured who have been evacuated by helicopter to Kathmandu,” SNGM vice-president Christian Trommsdorff told AFP.
He described the French victims as three mountain guides from the Chamonix area in the Alps and four of their clients, who were part of two expeditions.
Based on information the group has received, the avalanche happened Saturday
night on the normal path for climbing to Manaslu’s summit.
“This avalanche happened at around 7,400 metres and carried away part of camp three at 6,800 metres,” said Trommsdorff. - AFP


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