Nepal rescuers search for seven after avalanche hit hiking trail

KATHMANDU (AP) — Special army and government rescue personnel were searching again yesterday for four South Korean trekkers and their three Nepali guides lost since an avalanche swept a popular trekking route in Nepal’s mountains.

All other trekkers who were in the area where the avalanche swept the Mount Annapurna trekking trail on Friday have been safely rescued and flown to safer areas, Department of Tourism official Mira Acharya said.

The avalanche hit part of the Mount Annapurna circuit trekking route after heavy snowfall earlier in the week.

In photos taken last Tuesday, sunshine hit bare and grassy mountain slopes.

Two days of snowfall followed, and by Friday, snow was neck-deep and several avalanches had occurred, a veteran mountain guide who was helicopter-ed out of the area said. “We had crossed the area just three hours before the big avalanche hit the area, which has a few rests-stops and lodges,” Phurba Ongel Sherpa told The Associated Press yesterday.

On the way back, he said he saw the area from the helicopter where the avalanche had hit and it was blanketted with snow.

Trekkers watch the sun rise over the Annapurna Range in Central Nepal, as viewed from Poon Hill, above the village of Ghorepani in Myagdi District. PHOTO: AP