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Monday, September 24, 2012
An avalanche hit climbers on a high Himalayan peak in Nepal yesterday, leaving at least nine dead and six others missing, officials said.
Many of the climbers were French or German.
Police official Basanta Bahadur Kuwar said the bodies of a Nepalese guide and a German man were recovered and that rescue pilots had spotted seven other bodies on the slopes of Mount Manaslu in northern Nepal, the eighth highest mountain in the world.
Spain’s Foreign Ministry said one of those killed was Spanish.
Ten climbers survived the avalanche, but many were injured and were flown to hospitals by rescue helicopters. Rescue pilot Pasang, who uses only one name, said three injured French citizens and two Germans were transported to hospitals in Katmandu.
Deteriorating weather had halted air searches, Kuwar said.
The avalanche hit the climbers at a camp at 7,000m (22,960ft) early in the morning as they were preparing to head toward the summit, which is 8,156m (26,760ft) high.
There were Italian, German and French teams on the mountain, with a total of 231 climbers and guides.
It is currently the beginning of Nepal’s autumn mountaineering season, which comes after the end of the monsoon rains, making the weather unpredictable. It is not as popular as the spring season.
Nepal has eight of the world’s 14 highest peaks. Climbers have complained in recent years that conditions have deteriorated, increasing the risk of accidents.
Veteran mountain guide Apa, who has climbed Mount Everest a record 21 times, travelled for months across Nepal earlier this year campaigning about the effects of global warming. He said less ice and snow is making it harder for climbers to use ice axes and crampons. Loose snow also increases the risk of avalanches.
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