Snowstorm kills nine climbers on Nepal peak, Asia News & Top Stories

Heavy snowstorm and landslide buried the base camp

At least nine people were killed during the expedition, which included five South Koreans and four Nepali guides.

A rescue helicopter confirmed seeing bodies scattered in the ruins of the camp but were unable to retrieve them due to the strong winds and icy conditions.

"A massive block of ice (serac), probably 100 metres (330 ft) tall, likely fell from the mountain along a gorge, sending strong winds that hit the camp, threw the climbers off a cliff edge and into a ravine", Paudyal told Reuters on Monday.

A team of security personnel and high-altitude rescue workers who landed at the base camp via a helicopter recovered the nine bodies from the ravine.

He added: 'Everything is gone, all the tents are blown apart'.

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A five-member South Korean expedition team and four Nepali guides were at the base camp of Mount Gurja when the storm struck, police said on Saturday. A team of locals, who reached the site after a day-long walk, couldn't retrieve the bodies due to bad weather and hard geographical terrain and had to return, said Sama Prasad Chhantyal, who lost his close relative in the disaster.

They were led by Kim Chang-ho (49), a veteran climber who had reached all 148,000-m Himalayan peaks without supplemental oxygen.

The team had been on 7,193-metre (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route.

It was the deadliest climbing disaster in Nepal since 2015 when 19 people were killed at Mount Everest base camp by an avalanche triggered by an quake that devastated the country.

Only 30 people have reached the apex of Mt. Gurja, the last one in 1996, according to the Himalayan Database.

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Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, making it a major attraction for ambitious climbers.

The highest peak in the range is the Dhaulagiri I, the seventh highest mountain in the world at 26,795 feet above sea level.

In a Facebook post, South Korean President Moon Jae-in identified the South Korean climbers as team leader Kim Chang-ho and team members Lee Jae-hoon, Yim Il-jin, Yoo Young-jik and Jung Joon-mo.

Word of the destruction got out Saturday morning, and helicopters were sent.

Four Nepalese sherpas were also killed.

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