Earthquake triggers avalanche at Everest camp; 10 die

Published April 26, 2015
Kathmandu: People gather near a collapsed house after the earthquake.—Reuters
Kathmandu: People gather near a collapsed house after the earthquake.—Reuters

KATHMANDU: Climbers on the world’s highest mountain pleaded for help after the massive earthquake in Nepal triggered an avalanche at Everest base camp, killing at least 10 people and sparking panic.

Base camp was crowded with foreign mountaineers and their sherpa teams at the start at the climbing season when the avalanche hit, destroying camps and sending slabs of ice crashing in what was described as a “huge disaster”.

“Running for life from my tent. Unhurt. Many many people up the mountain,” tweeted Romanian climber Alex Gavan who had been preparing to ascend nearby Lhotse, the world’s fourth highest peak.

“Huge disaster. Helped searched and rescued victims through huge debris area. Many dead. Much more badly injured. More to die if not heli asap,” he later tweeted.

Ten people were confirmed dead on the mountain and rescue efforts were underway but heavy snow was preventing helicopters from reaching climbers, an official said.

“There might be over 1,000 people there right now, including foreign climbers and Nepalese supporting staffs. Rescue helicopters have not been able to fly because of the weather,” Gyanendra Kumar Shrestha, an official in Nepal’s tourism department, said.

The avalanche and earthquake come just one year after a disaster on Everest killed 16 guides and triggered an unprecedented shut-down of the 8,848 metre (29,029 feet) peak.

Some climbers are returning this year after being forced to abandon their attempt on the summit last April during the chaos and recriminations that followed the deadliest avalanche then to ever hit the mountain.

Medics already at base camp for the climbing season were working hard to “save lives”, doctor and mountaineer Nima Namgyal Sherpa said on his Facebook page on Saturday.

‘Big slabs of ice: “Many camps have been destroyed by the shake and wind from the avalanche.

All the doctors here are doing our best to treat and save lives,” Sherpa said.

Concerns were also held for those on nearby Himalayan mountains, with climber Arjun Vajpai reporting that he was safe at Makalu base camp but that “big slabs of ice” had crashed down at camp two on that mountain.

“We had some 10 to 15 climbers including some sherpas up there and we still don’t have any confirmation reports (of) whether they are OK or not,” Vajpai said told India’s NDTV.

“It is snowing here for the past one and a half days. We haven’t been able to establish radio communication with them,” he added.

Some 700 climbers are in Solukhumbhu district that includes Everest, with 300 thought to be at base camp itself, and another 300 just below, deputy superintendent of police Chandra Dev Rai said.

Another climber Daniel Mazur, from SummitClimb, tweeted that base camp “has been severely damaged” while his team was caught at camp one. “Please pray for everyone. “He later tweeted to say that we “have no damage and are all safe”.

Published in Dawn, April 26th, 2015

On a mobile phone? Get the Dawn Mobile App: Apple Store | Google Play

Opinion

Editorial

Time for dialogue
Updated 24 Jun, 2024

Time for dialogue

If the PML-N and PTI remain mired in mutual acrimony, an ever-widening gap will continue to allow non-political forces to assert themselves.
Property taxes
24 Jun, 2024

Property taxes

ACCORDING to reports in the local media, along with the higher taxes imposed on real estate in the recent budget, ...
Fierce heat
24 Jun, 2024

Fierce heat

CLIMATE change is unfolding as predicted by experts: savage heat, melting glaciers, extreme rainfall, drought, ...
China’s concerns
23 Jun, 2024

China’s concerns

Pakistan has no option but to neutralise militant threat to Chinese projects, as well as address its business and political stability concerns.
War drums
23 Jun, 2024

War drums

If it is foolish enough to launch another war in Lebanon, Tel Aviv will be solely responsible for setting the Middle East on fire.
Balochistan budget
23 Jun, 2024

Balochistan budget

BALOCHISTAN’S Rs955.6bn budget for the fiscal year 2024-25 makes many pledges to the poor citizens of Pakistan’s...