Nepal snowstorm kills 5 South Korean and 4 Nepalese climbers in Himalayas


A group of South Korean climbers and their guides have died on Nepal's Mount Gurja after a violent snowstorm hit their camp.

He added: 'Everything is gone, all the tents are blown apart'. "The conditions were too icy to continue the search", pilot Siddartha Gurung told AFP.

Eight Korean climbers and three Nepalese guides are reportedly dead on Gurja Himal mountain after a strong storm swept through their base camp, officials and expedition organisers say.

Kim Chang-ho, from South Korea, who is the fastest person to reach the summits of the world's 14 highest mountains without additional oxygen, is believed by local media to be among the dead.

The helicopter team hopes to return on Sunday, if weather clears up.

The group were reported missing after expedition organisers raised the alarm when they lost contact with the group for almost 24 hours.

A police team is now making its way to the base camp on foot and will likely reach there on Sunday.

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Nepal's tourism department said a second helicopter was being sent to the site Saturday afternoon.

Friday's storm was the deadliest incident in Nepal's mountaineering industry since 18 people were killed at Mount Everest base camp in 2015 in an avalanche triggered by a powerful natural disaster.

Trekking Camp Nepal Managing Director Wangchu Sherpa said the Nepalese climbers who were killed have been identified as Chhiring Bhote and Lakpa Sangbu Bhote from Shankhuwasabha district, Natra Bahadur Chantel from Myagdi district, and Phurbu Bhote.

Rarely-climbed Gurja lies in Nepal's Annapurna region, next to avalanche-prone Dhaulagiri - the world's seventh highest mountain.

The previous year, 16 Sherpas were killed on Everest when an avalanche swept through the Khumbu Icefall.

According to the Himalayan Database, no one has successfully climbed it in more than 20 years. Income from foreign climbers is a major source of revenue for the cash-strapped nation.