February 19, 2019

Atleast five South Korean climbers and four Nepalese guides missing in storm

13 October 2018, 10:48 | Devin Moran

Image Mt Gurja is part of the massif containing Dhaulagiri I the seventh highest mountain in the world

Dhaulagiri is the seventh highest mountain in the world

Wangchu Sherpa, managing director of Trekking Camp Nepal, who organized the expedition, said they raised the alarm after they had not heard from the South Korean team for almost 24 hours.

There were five South Korean climbers and four Nepalese guides in the camp when the strong storm hit. "[A recovery team] could see the bodies of the climbers scattered near the camp". "It's very hard to identify, but after closer scrutiny, the group said four were South Koreans and two Nepalese", he said, adding that one body remained unidentified.

Gurung said a rescue team hoped to return to the camp on Sunday if conditions improved.

Tourism Ministry official Rameshwar Niraula said rescue helicopter pilots also spotted the bodies but were unable to land due to bad weather conditions.

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

The nine had gone missing after the storm swept their base camp located at an altitude of 3,500 meters on Mount Gurja in western Nepal, according to the embassy.

The group, five South Koreans and their four Nepali guides, were trying to ascend Mount Gurja, a 7,193m (23,599ft) peak.

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

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

Four climbers have perished on Gurja's flanks and a total of 30 have successfully reached its peak - a fraction of the more than 8,000 people who have summited Everest, the world's highest mountain. Income from foreign climbers is a major source of revenue for the cash-strapped nation.

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