19 more bodies found; 211 saved from blizzard

- PREM NEPALI, GHANASHYAM KHADKA, PRAGATI SHAHI, Kathmandu
19 more bodies found; 211 saved from blizzard

Oct 16, 2014-

Nineteen more bodies were recovered in Manang, Mustang and Myagdi districts on Thursday, pushing the death toll of unseasonal blizzards and avalanches in the Annapurna region to 29.  Eleven bodies were those of foreign nationals, the authorities said. The search teams also rescued 211 people from the region.

According to Govind Prasad Pathak, chief of police in Mustang, nine bodies, including those of three Nepalis, two Israelis and one Polish, were recovered near Thorong La pass at an altitude of 5,400 metres above the sea level. The identities of the victims are yet to be ascertained.

In Manang district, five bodies--of three Nepalis and two Indians--were found in Kangla Fu pass.  Deputy Superintendent of Police Rajendra Babu Regmi said they could not bring the remains to Chame because of bad weather.

Five helicopters were used to rescue the trekkers and their associates trapped in the Annapurna region since early Tuesday morning. Chief District Officer of Manang Devendra Lamichhane said all rescue efforts had to be halted on Thursday evening because of poor visibility. He said the weather was clear from 6am until 5pm.

In Myagdi, bodies of five people--three Nepalis and two Slovaks--were pulled out the snow. They had been reported missing in an avalanche on Tuesday. Two Indian trekkers were rescued from the area.

The disaster is the second deadliest tragedy to hit the mountains in Nepal this year after the massive avalanche in Everest region that killed 16 Sherpa guides in April.

Meanwhile, the government has formed a high-level team under Tourism Minister Deepak Chandra Amatya to assist in the ongoing search and rescue mission. A meeting of the team members was held at the Tourism Ministry on Thursday to discuss the ways to make the search and rescue mission more effective.  Meanwhile, Prime Minister Sushil Koirala has extended condolence to the families of those killed in blizzards and avalanches. Koirala urged the Army, police, local administrations, tourism entrepreneurs, and trekking and mountaineering agencies operating in the area for prompt search and rescue of the people missing in the incident. Koirala added that the government was ready to collaborate with non-government organisations and development partners to improve the weather forecast system along the trekking routes.

100 missing in Upper Dolpa

Around 100 people, including 60 foreign trekkers, have been reported missing in remote Upper Dolpa. Hem Thapa of CG Trekking Store said that of the 10 tourist teams who were trekking around the region, only one comprising 17 members came in contact on Thursday afternoon. The status of other teams remained unknown as of the evening.

Published: 17-10-2014 09:09

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