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Search intensified for missing hikers in Nepal

India Blooms News Service | | 16 Oct 2014, 02:23 pm
Kathmandu, Oct 16 (IBNS): Hunt has been intensified for missing 100-odd hikers who are still out of contact since cyclone Hudhud triggered blizzard and avalanche hit Nepal, media reported.

According to reports received, Nepalese administration have been running multiple helicopter sorties in the Mustang and Manang districts where at least 32 people, mostly foreign hikers were killed after the tail of Hudhud slammed the nation resulting in avalanches and severe blizzards. The region has seen unusually heavy snowfall this week sparked by Cyclone Hudhud, which slammed into India's east coast on Sunday. The cyclone also brought downpours to parts of central and western Nepal.

Ganesh Rai, the police official in charge of the effort, said emergency workers had rescued 43 stranded trekkers, but more than 100 others remained out of contact. "We are running helicopter missions to try and find them, but we can find no sign of them, we presume they are dead," Rai is quoted by AFP as saying. "So far we have located 16 bodies in Mustang district in the Annapurna region, but we don't have a clear picture yet of how many are foreigners since we still need to identify them," Rai, who is heading the rescue effort, told AFP.

Local officials said that 24 bodies had been found on the popular Throung La pass, the highest point of the Annapurna trekking circuit. Five more climbers who were staying at a mountain base camp when it was hit by an avalanche could not be found and were presumed dead, military spokesperson Niranjan Shrestha is quoted by media as saying. The bodies of four Canadians, two Israelis, two Polish, one Vietnamese, one Indian, one German and 11 Nepalese have been found. The nationality of three others found was unknown, he said. Eight among them were hikers who lost their lives in an avalanche in Manang district, according to a local official. Three Nepalese yak herders were also killed when severe weather triggered by the tail end of Cyclone Hudhud hit the Himalayan region in central Nepal.

It has been learnt that rescuers were searching for two Slovakian mountaineers and three Nepalese guides who went missing after an avalanche struck teams stationed at the base camp of 8,167-metre (26,795 foot) Mount Dhaulagiri on Tuesday night. According to local authorities, Some 168 foreign tourists were registered to hike in the districts. Authorities are now trying to track the rest of them down, with efforts hampered by poor telecommunications. "Many people are unaccounted for - we only register foreign nationals, but several Nepalese could also be caught up in the snowstorm," Rai said.

Fatal accidents in the Himalayan region are relatively common. An avalanche killed a German and an Italian mountaineer last September during a climbing expedition at a 26,289 feet-high mountain in the Himalayan range. In April, another avalanche killed 12 Nepalese sherpas and seriously injured three others when they were heading to one of the base camps on Mount Everest.

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