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High Up Everest, a Massive, Tricky Rescue Continues

At least 180 pulled off mountain by helicopter so far
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 27, 2015 10:21 AM CDT
High Up Everest, a Massive, Tricky Rescue Continues
In this photo provided by Azim Afif people approach the scene after an avalanche triggered by a massive earthquake swept across Everest Base Camp, Nepal on Saturday, April 25, 2015.   (Azim Afif via AP)

(Newser) – In the wake of Nepal's nightmare earthquake, a group of Americans was among hundreds of people left stranded on the world's tallest mountain, ABC News reports, and their base camp doctor was among three Americans killed. "We have been up here at Camp 2 hanging tough, but we are running low on food and fuel and we have to get down," said Garrett Madison. "There's no path or route through the Khumbu icefall at this point in time … At this point our only option to get down is by helicopter evacuation." Good news, per the group's blog: today they made it to base camp. Meanwhile, some 180 people have been rescued via helicopter from about halfway up the mountain, Bloomberg reports.

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Ultimately, "I believe everyone who is fairly well supplied and uninjured at this point is going to be rescued," the chief executive of a rescue operation tells Quartz. Flying a helicopter at that altitude is a dangerous prospect, Quartz notes, "because helicopters don’t operate as safely as fixed-wing airplanes in the lower-density air found higher up in the atmosphere." Madison's fellow climber who died was physician's assistant Marisa Eve Girawong, 28, mycentraljersey.com reports; she died at the group's demolished base camp. She had been in Nepal since last year. Seventeen people died on Everest; the other Americans were Tom Taplin, 61, a filmmaker from Santa Monica, Calif., the Los Angeles Times reports, and Google exec Dan Fredinburg. (Read more Nepal stories.)

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