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18 Feared Dead in Nepal Avalanche

By Jiban Ghimire - October 25th, 2005

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Kanguru, in Northwest Nepal At least 18 people are trapped and possibly buried under an avalanche in Western Nepal, according to GreatOutdoors.com correspondent Jiban Ghimire of Sherpa Shangri-La Treks. The group---seven French climbers, and 11 Nepali support staff--went missing near Mount Kanguru, in northwest Nepal five days ago.

Officials at the Himalayan Rescue Association (HRA), which is coordinating the rescue mission, said that all mountaineers are considered to have been buried in the snow and that rescuers have given up hope to find any survivors.

"All 18 climbers seem to have been buried in the deep snow. Rescuers working at the scene told me that chances of anybody coming out alive are none," HRA president Bikram Neupane, who returned to the capital from the site this evening, said informing that rescue work supported by French officials is underway.

"But, we cannot confirm them dead unless the bodies are found," he added. An experienced French alpinist also arrived in the area this afternoon to help in the rescue, according to him.

Army and police helicopters were also sighted near the scene this afternoon while, according to government authorities have assured to provide all possible helps in rescue works.

A 21-member team, led by the veteran French climber Daniel Stolzenberg, was isolated by snowstorms as they attempted to climb Mount Kanguru, over 6,000-metre high summit in the region of Manang in north-west Nepal.

Four Nepali porters were rescued by helicopter on Sunday but Nepali authorities said bad weather and poor communications were hampering efforts to find the remaining climbers.

The expedition members are out of contact since Thursday when they were on their way to climb Mr. Kanguru at an altitude of around 15,000 ft.

"All the 18 team members including seven French and 11 Nepalese have died in the mountain, while four Nepalese, who were staying outside the tents, managed to save their lives," Nepal 1 private channel reported Sunday evening.


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