17 killed, 61 injured in Mount Qomolangma avalanche
At least 17 were killed, 61 injured in the Mount Qomolangma avalanche triggered by Nepal's massive earthquake, which slammed into a section of the mountaineering base camp, an official said Sunday, Xinhua reported.
21 of the most seriously injured were taken by helicopter to Pheriche village, the nearest medical facility. However, bad weather and communications were hampering more helicopter sorties, leaving an unknown number of climbers and guides unaccounted for on other routes, said Ang Tshering of the Nepal Mountaineering Association.
The avalanche began Saturday on Mount Kumori, a 7,000-meter-high mountain just a few miles from Mount Qomolangma, also known as Mount Everest, gathering strength as it headed toward the base camp where climbing expeditions have been preparing to make their summit attempts in the coming weeks, he said.
Numerous climbers may now be cut off on routes leading to the top of the world's highest peak.
The avalanche plowed into a part of base camp, a sprawling seasonal village of climbers, guides and porters, flattening at least 30 tents, Tshering said. All of the dead and injured were at base camp.
Survivors reached over Internet messaging services described a scene of terror as the snow and ice roared through the nearby Khumbu Icefall and into the camp.
Authorities said Sunday at least 1,900 people across the region had been confirmed dead and the number is quite likely to rise.
The nationalities of base camp victims were unclear as climbers described chaotic attempts to treat the injured amid fears of more landslides and aftershocks that continue to rattle the region. Chinese media "West China City Daily" reported that a Chinese climber and two Sherpa guides were among the dead.
A Google executive, Dan Fredinburg, who described himself as an adventurer, was among the dead, Google confirmed. Lawrence You, the company's director of privacy, posted online that Fredinburg was with three other Google employees hiking Mount Qomolangma. Fredinburg served as product manager and the head of privacy at Google X.