Nine climbers killed in Himalayan storm

Geraldine Edwards
October 15, 2018

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 Saturday.

'(They) fell off a cliff and died'.

"The bodies of all five Koreans and four Nepalis have been identified", Budhamagar told Reuters from Myagdi district where the accident took place.

Police and locals are working to bring the bodies off the mountain and to Kathmandu, South Korea's Foreign Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

A South Korean climbing group says the bodies of five Koreans who died in a storm on a Nepal mountain will be returned to their home country on Wednesday.

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Kim's four-man team had been joined by a fifth South Korean trekker.

Niraula said officials were still gathering details of what exactly happened but from what rescuers described, the climbers were blown over by the blast of the blizzard-like wind conditions.

The previous year, 16 Sherpas were killed on Everest when an avalanche swept through the Khumbu Icefall.

Four climbers have perished on its flanks and a total of 30 have successfully reached its peak - a fraction of the more than 8,000 people who have summited the world's highest mountain, Everest.

A helicopter reached the site and managed to land just above the expedition team's camp, but were unable to retrieve any of the bodies. Compare that to Mt. Everest, which more than 4,800 climbers have summited - many of them sherpa who have achieved the feat a couple of times.

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A helicopter was sent to investigate and spotted the bodies, but strong winds prevented the rescue team from retrieving the dead.

The team attempting Mount Gurja, a 7,193 metre-high (23,600-foot) peak, was led by Kim Chang-ho, a veteran of the sport who had set speed records on 14 of the world's highest mountains.

The bodies are being kept at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital morgue, where doctors will conduct autopsies before the bodies are handed over to family members.

Nepal is in peak climbing season at present after the end of monsoon season.

"We notified the family members of the dead climbers that it's hard to go to Nepal", the official said.

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