10/23/2005

CNN.com - Nepal searches for 18 climbers - Oct 23, 2005

KATHMANDU, Nepal (Reuters) -- Rescue workers are searching for seven French and 11 Nepali climbers who went missing four days ago after an avalanche in western Nepal, rescue officials have said.

Authorities in Kathmandu lost contact with the 21-member climbing team on Wednesday after the avalanche tore through the base camp of the 6,981-meter (22,903-feet) Kang Guru peak.

The team was at the base camp when the avalanche struck, Bikram Neupane, chief of the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), told Reuters.

Three Nepali climbers were rescued on Sunday, but the rest were still missing, he said.

"Three Nepali climbers from the same team were picked up by the helicopter and were taken to Pokhara," he said.

Sri Ram K.C., who is coordinating the rescue operation, said seven rescue workers had been dropped in by helicopter in Manang district to search for the climbers.

"The rescuers are armed with picks, ropes, shovels and other equipment and will look for the climbers in the snow," he said from Pokhara, a major city in west Nepal.

Manang is a popular destination for Western hikers and climbers turn up in the thousands each year in Nepal. The kingdom has eight of the world's 14 highest peaks, including Mount Everest.

Sri Ram said the helicopter could not land at the base camp because of heavy snow.

CNN.com - Nepal searches for 18 climbers - Oct 23, 2005

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