Korean climbers killed after storm sweeps Nepal mountain

Korean climbers killed after storm sweeps Nepal mountain

At least nine people were killed during the expedition, which included five South Koreans and four Nepali guides.

The team had injuries, including head wounds and broken bones, consistent with being hit by powerful winds, but rescuers say it most likely caused by the powerful downblast from an avalanche not a storm.

Police official Bir Bahadur Budhamagar said villagers who on Saturday reached the site at the base camp of Mount Gurja, a 7,913 metre-high peak, spotted seven bodies on the mountain slopes.

The bodies of the climbers - five South Koreans and four Nepalis - will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort. "[A recovery team] could see the bodies of the climbers scattered near the camp".

He added: 'Everything is gone, all the tents are blown apart'.

A team of locals, who reached the site after a day-long walk, was unable to retrieve the bodies due to bad weather and geographical difficulties and had to return, said Sama Prasad Chhantyal, who lost his close relative in the disaster.

The eight were killed in the snowstorm, police said.

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The previous year, 16 Sherpas were killed on Everest when an avalanche swept through the Khumbu Icefall during the busy spring climbing season.

Wangchu Sherpa, managing director of Trekking Camp Nepal, who organised the expedition, said they raised the alarm after they had not heard from the team for almost 24 hours.

"We received a phone call from the Trekking Camp Nepal on Friday that the team at the base camp was out of contact", said Meera Acharya, director at the Department of Tourism, which issues climbing permits.

Mountaineer Kim Chang-ho was the first Korean to climb 14 peaks above 8,000 metres without using supplemental oxygen, The Himalayan Times reported.

The highest peak in the range is the Dhaulagiri I, the seventh highest mountain in the world at 26,795 feet above sea level.

According to the Himalayan Database, no one has successfully climbed it in more than 20 years.

A sixth South Korean national was staying in a village in the valley below the mountain when the powerful storm struck and survived, according to a local police report.

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