8 more climbers flown to capital, no clue on missing yet
MANOJ ADHIKARI/SANTOSH POKHAREL
POKHARA, Sept 27: After four days of search and rescue the whereabouts of three climbers missing after the Manaslu avalanche on Sunday are still unknown.
The avalanche swept away 11 tourists and eight bodies have been recovered.
Meanwhile, eight more climbers were rescued from base camp and airlifted to Kathmandu after they began falling ill and became exhausted.
According to manager at Simrik Air, Yograj Kandel, five Germans and two Austrians were airlifted to Kathmandu on Wednesday and one climber on Tuesday.
After the Sunday avalanche, 11 climbers were brought back to base camp from camps 2 and 3. Three of them were ready to quit the expedition but the eight others remained at base camp to attempt the ascent.
Despite the extensive search and rescue operation conducted in the area of the avalanche, the situation of the three missing is still unclear.
According to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Dominique Quimet, 48, of Canada and French nationals Remy George Lecluse,48, and Gregory Ugo Costa, 29, are still missing following the avalanche that hit camps 2 and 3.
Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) in Gorkha, Basanta Kunwar, said that despite search efforts by an experienced Sherpa team, there is no clue about the missing.
Kunwar informed that five experienced Sherpa climbers have been deployed in the area to search for them.
Trekking operator Himalayan Guide, which had sent the missing French duo for the Manaslu expedition, said chances of rescuing them alive are very slim.
“The search team has found no clue about their situation. Had there been even a slight clue regarding their situation, we would have sent helipters,” tour operator of Himalayan Guide Ishowari Poudel said.
Acting chief of Manslu Conservation Area Project, Bhim Upadhaya, informed that the search operation resumed after the weather in the area improved.
“The weather was very harsh on the day of the accident, but the search operation has been a bit easier after recent improvements in the weather”, he said.
He also informed that the search efforts will continue five more days and that the missing are likely to be found as the snow has begun to thaw.
According to Upadhaya, members of teams other than those hit by the avalanche are at base camp preparing to ascend Mt Manalsu. The ill-fated team which was swept way by the snow-slide was preparing to summit the world´s eighth highest mountain Sunday.