POKHARA, Sept 23: At least nine climbers ascending the Mt Manaslu died while several of other members of the expedition team have gone missing in an avalanche early Sunday morning.
According to Deputy Superintendent of Police of Gorkha Basanta Bahadur Kunwar, two dead bodies have been airlifted to Kathmandu while seven bodies have been kept at the base camp.
Kunwar said only two of the deceased --Babudorje Sherpa of Solukhumbu and Christian Mittimeyer of Germany- - have been identified so far. He also informed that they have been facing difficulty in carrying out rescue efforts due to bad weather.
According to Chief Executive Officer of Fishtail Air, Suman Panday, at least 38 people have gone missing in the disaster. He also claimed that 13 dead bodies have recovered from the spot.
Director General of Simrik Air Yograj Kandel said that death toll is likely to rise as the pilots in the rescue efforts have seen people buried in the snow.
The trekking and mountaineering agencies informed that mountaineers from Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Ecuador, among other countries, had reached the Manaslu area in Gorkha for mountaineering expedition.
The accident site is at the altitude of 6,500m and in remotest area in northern Gorkha. Five climbers rescued alive from the site are undergoing treatment in the capital.
Injured being rescued. (Courtesy: Simrik Air)
Simrik Air captain Siddhartha Jung Gurung, who reached site a few hours after the accident, claimed he brought two dead bodies to the base camp. All the 16 people rescued by Simrik Air have been brought to the capital. The rescue team could not land at the base camp on Sunday due to bad weather. Rescue efforts will resume on Monday.
“Our first priority was to rescue climbers who were alive,” captain Gurung told Republica. “It is unlikely that those missing would be found alive,” he added.
Choppers of Mountain, Fishtail, and Dynasty Air are also involved in the rescue operation.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, 231 tourists in 25 groups had left for the area last week. They were preparing to scale the summit on Sunday, said the ministry.
(Courtesy: Simrik Air)
Noldup Gyaljen, a local of Samagaun, said that the avalanche in the Mt Manaslu is a regular phenomenon, especially during the rainy season.
According to Pandey, Simrik chopper that left for the site from Kathmandu at 12 pm could to reach the site due to the bad weather. According to Manaslu Conservation Project, last year eight people had ascended the 8,163 meter high Mt Manaslu