Accessibility links

Breaking News

20 Dead in Nepal Avalanche as Rescue Effort Continues

In this photo provided by the Nepalese army, soldiers carry an avalanche victim to an airlift transfer point in Thorong La pass area, Nepal, Oct. 15, 2014.

Rescue teams in Nepal's Himalayas continued searching for dozens of missing hikers Thursday, after the previous day's heavy snow and avalanches killed at least 20 people.

Officials said at least 70 hikers remained unaccounted for on or near the popular trekking route that circles Annapurna, the world's 10th highest mountain.

Mt. Annapurna in Nepal, site of avalanche
Mt. Annapurna in Nepal, site of avalanche

Army and civilian rescue workers continued searching the area on foot, while military helicopters flew overhead, aided by improved weather conditions.

At least 12 people – six Nepali citizens, three Polish nationals and three Israelis – died Wednesday during a sudden blizzard in the Thorang-La pass area.

An avalanche buried one Indian and four Canadian hikers in the neighboring district of Manang, where three yak herders also died after being swept away.

The remnants of deadly Cyclone Hudhud in neighboring India triggered rain and snow in Nepal's northern mountains at the height of the popular trekking season.

A local police official told the AFP French news agency that a snowfall of up to 91 centimeters or 36 inches had hit the area.

Earlier trekking tragedy

The Nepalese trekking community suffered huge losses this year after an April avalanche near Mount Everest Base Camp killed 16 guides.

The incident raised questions about safety for the Sherpas, who are often economically dependent on a trekking circuit driven largely by foreign climbing tourism.

Some information for this report was contributed by Agence France-Presse.