Three missing on Everest as avalanche rips through popular route for climbers

Officials say hopes of finding climbers appear to be slim

Sravasti Dasgupta
Thursday 13 April 2023 13:31 BST

Related video: Mount Everest avalanche narrowly avoids base camp

Three sherpas from Nepal are missing after an avalanche on Mount Everest, officials said on Wednesday.

The sherpas are believed to be buried in a 50m (164ft) crevasse after the avalanche hit the most popular Southeast Ridge route to the summit of what is said to be the world’s tallest mountain.

The three guides were identified as Pemba Tenzing Sherpa, Lakpa Rita Sherpa and Dachhiri Sherpa from Thame village of Khumbu by base camp officials, reported The Himalayan Times newspaper.

The three were carrying climbing gear for their clients and were caught at an unspecified site between the Base Camp and Camp I on its lower parts.

“A block of snow fell and buried them,” Yubaraj Khatiwada, an official in Nepal’s tourism department, told Reuters.

The official said a search helicopter was sent for the sherpas who are believed to have been buried in the crevasse.

A ground search team has so far failed to locate them.

Officials later on Wednesday said hopes of finding the three climbers appear to be slim.

The search operations had to be abandoned on Wednesday afternoon after a round of aerial searches failed to located them.

“Aerial searches have been abandoned because of poor weather this afternoon,” a base camp official was quoted as saying to the outlet.

The three climbers were part of a expedition organised by tourism company Imagine Nepal Treks, said a tourism department official.

This is reportedly the first disaster that has taken place on Mount Everest in this year’s climbing season.

The Everest Base Camp, located at an altitude of about 5,350m (17,552ft) attracts climbers between March and May annually.

Camp I is pitched across the treacherous Khumbu Icefall, the first major physical hurdle to the peak located at an altitude of about 6,050m (19,850ft).

During the season, hundreds of foreign and Nepali climbers flock to the mountain to attempt to reach its 8,849m (29,032ft) peak.

At least 300 climbers have died while attempting to scale the peak ever since it was first climbed by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and Edmund Hillary in 1953.

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