9 Die in Nepal Climbing Disaster

Storm swept through their base camp
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Oct 15, 2018 1:02 AM CDT

(Newser) – Nine people, including South Korean climbers, were killed on Gurja Himal mountain after a strong storm swept through their base camp, Nepalese police say. The nine climbers who died included Kim Chang-ho, the first South Korean to summit all 14 Himalayan peaks over 8,000 meters without using supplemental oxygen. Seoul's Foreign Ministry has not yet disclosed the names of the four other South Koreans. Four Nepalese climbers were also killed when the storm hit the camp on Friday, the AP reports. Rescuers retrieved the climbers' bodies on Sunday after weather cleared. The body of one of the guides was taken to his village, while the eight climbers were flown to Kathmandu.

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"It was the worst mountaineering disaster in Nepal in recent years and an unimaginable one," says Rameshwor Niraula of Nepal's Mountaineering Department, which issues climbing permits and monitors expeditions. Niraula says officials are still gathering details of what exactly happened, but from what rescuers described, the climbers were blown over by the blast of the blizzard-like wind conditions. One Korean member of the climbing team had become ill and was in a village far below the base camp during the storm. It was the deadliest climbing disaster in Nepal since 2015, when 19 people were killed at Mount Everest's base camp by an avalanche triggered by an earthquake.

(Read more Nepal stories.)

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