Kathmandu, Oct 18 (IANS) At least 39 climbers died while hiking on a key Nepali route after it was hit by a major snowstorm and avalanches earlier this week, BBC reported Saturday citing officials. Over 350 stranded people have been rescued from the area.
Nepalese, Indian, Israeli, Canadian, Slovak and Polish trekkers are among the dead.
Meanwhile, rescuers have evacuated over 350 foreign tourists and Nepalese stranded in mountainous districts in four days after the avalanches, Xinhua quoted officials as saying Saturday.
Earlier reports said, a total of 289 people had been rescued from the mountain ranges in what is Nepal’s worst-ever trekking disaster.
Dozens of injured foreign tourists and Nepali nationals have been admitted in hospitals. It is still not clear how many trekkers were in the storm-battered Annapurna circuit, as rescue workers have been recovering dead bodies every day, the Xinhua report said.
The Trekking Agents Association of Nepal said Saturday that dead bodies of two Japanese tourists were recovered.
On Saturday alone, dozens of foreign tourists and Nepali nationals were rescued from the affected area.
In the light of fears that more bodies lie beneath the snow, helicopters are helping rescuers in the Himalayas to look for missing trekkers.
A government spokesperson said the priority was to rescue stranded people.
Helicopters were scouring snowy areas as high as 5,790m (19,000ft), a tourism ministry official said.
The authorities’ task has become more complicated because there are thousands of climbers in Nepal at this time of the year.
Rescuers have only limited resources and most of the missing and dead are believed to be at the maximum heights that helicopters can reach.