Nepal snowstorm kills 5 South Korean and 4 Nepalese climbers in Himalayas

Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains including Mount Everest and the autumn climbing season is now at its peak. — Reuters pic

Nepal is home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains including Mount Everest and the autumn climbing season is now at its peak. — Reuters pic

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.

The Himalayan Times reported a landslide on the south face of Mt Dhaulagiri in western Nepal buried the climbers, according to the expedition organiser Wangchu Sherpa, managing director at Trekking Camp Nepal.

Five South Korean climbers including team leader Kim Chang-ho along with their Nepali support staff were killed in the incident, Sherpa said.

"The camp was completely destroyed", the BBC heard from Myagdi district official Liladhar Adhikari.

Gurung said a rescue team would hopefully return to the camp on Sunday, if conditions improved.

A rescue helicopter at the scene confirmed seeing eight bodies in the ruins of the camp, but was unable to stay due to bad conditions.

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The storm is the deadliest incident to hit Nepal's mountaineering industry since 18 people were killed at Mount Everest's base camp in 2015 in an avalanche triggered by a powerful natural disaster.

The group, five South Koreans and their four Nepali guides, were trying to ascend Mount Gurja, a 7,193m (23,599ft) peak.

"After they (the climbers) were out of contact since yesterday we sent people from the village and a helicopter to search for them", he said.

A police rescue team is now making its way on foot to the site while the helicopter team hopes to return to the camp on Sunday, if weather conditions improve.

Gurja was first summited in 1969 by a Japanese team but no one has stood on its summit for 22 years, according to the Himalayan Database. Income from foreign climbers is a major source of revenue for the cash-strapped nation.

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