Several missing after Himalayas avalanche
Mon, 24 Sep 2012 6:23p.m.
By Tom McRae
Up to 16 people are feared dead in Nepal after an avalanche buried climbers on a camp in the Himalayas. A group of about 25 people were near the summit of Mount Manaslu when it was hit by a wall of snow.
A climbing expert in New Zealand says it's amazing that anyone survived.
Some of the French and German climbers are alive, but at least nine of their party didn't make it back. World-leading climber Barry Blanchard says it's incredible anyone did because they were hit by ice.
“If you're hit by the ice, which is incredibly dense, you don't have a good chance of surviving,” he says. “You'd probably die of trauma. The snow is survivable.”
So far two bodies have been recovered. Another seven have been spotted by search and rescue teams.
The party was 7000m above sea level at one of the camps and nearing the summit of Mount Manaslu when the avalanche struck.
“It was started by an ice cliff high on the mountain, the edge of a glacier breaking loose, so you've got a lot of really hard, dense ice coming down and that released a slab avalanche of snow,” says Mr Blanchard. “The combination of ice and snow came down and hit the high camp, obliterated a number of tents and killed a number of people.”
Helicopters were sent but heavy fog complicated rescue efforts.
“As soon as we heard about the accident we mobilised one of the helicopters,” says Captain Pasang of the mountain air rescue operation. “We brought three French and one German national to the hospital.”
Hundreds of climbers head every year to the Himalayas, which has eight of the world's highest mountains. Mount Manaslu is considered one of the most dangerous, with dozens of deaths every year.
“There's not a lot of absolutely safe ground there, maybe no absolutely safe ground given a big storm and enough snow,” says Mr Blanchard. “You're going to have widespread avalanching and very little chance in those situations.”
With more people climbing in the Himalayas, more are dying.
The autumn season has only just begun, and this tragedy is a warning to those about to set off.
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
A series of scandals is threatening to derail US president Barack Obama's second...
The United States' Obama administration denounced Russia on Friday for providing...
A former politician says that police brutality in South Africa is as bad now as ...
A senior Australian politician has fallen foul of social media. ...
Police in Rio de Janiero have been forced to admit to using excessive force afte...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.