Published: Mon, October 15, 2018
Worldwide | By Angelina Lucas

Bodies of all nine killed in Mt Gurja snowstorm retrieved

Bodies of all nine killed in Mt Gurja snowstorm retrieved

A police team is now making its way to the base camp on foot and will likely reach there on Sunday.

Seven people, including South Korean climbers, were killed and two more are missing on Gurja Himal mountain after a strong storm swept through their base camp, Nepalese police said on Saturday.

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal's Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

The remote area is hard to reach by foot, he said, and locals are still looking for two other climbers who are missing after the overnight storm.

In a Facebook post, South Korean President Moon Jae-in identified the South Korean climbers as team leader Kim Chang-ho and team members Lee Jae-hoon, Yim Il-jin, Yoo Young-jik and Jung Joon-mo.

Tourism Ministry official Rameshwar Niraula said rescue helicopter pilots also spotted the bodies but were unable to land due to bad weather conditions.

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"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.

Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, who organised the expedition, said they sent a helicopter to investigate on Saturday morning after the team did not get in contact for more than 24 hours.

Kim is the first Korean to climb all 14 Himalayan peaks without using supplementary oxygen.

Rarely climbed Gurja lies in Nepal's Annapurna region, next to avalanche-prone Dhaulagiri - the world's seventh-highest mountain.

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 quake.

The Himalayan mountain range includes all 14 of the world's peaks that rise above 8,000 meters, and only a few dozen climbers have made verified, successful ascents of them all.

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