Nepal mountain rescue mission ends

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Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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Nepal is ending rescue operations in its northern mountains today, saying all the hikers believed to have been stranded on a trekking route by a series of deadly blizzards are now safe.

At least 38 people, including trekkers from Canada, India, Israel, Slovakia, Poland and Japan, died in the blizzards and avalanches which swept the Himalayas last week, battering the popular Annapurna trekking circuit.

The last flights by rescue helicopters in Mustang, Manang and Dolpa districts were planned for today, said Yadav Koirala, of Nepal’s Disaster Management Division. All the casualties were in those three districts, located north-west of the capital, Katmandu.

“We believe that all the trekkers and guides have been helped and as far as we know there are no more people stranded on the route,” he said, adding that some soldiers would remain camped out in the area.

So far, 34 bodies have been identified. Most of them have been flown to nearby towns or Katmandu for post-mortem examinations.

Rescuers retrieved the bodies of nine Nepalese porters from a mountain slope yesterday. The bodies were spotted a day earlier by a helicopter, but it took hours for rescuers to reach them on foot.

Also yesterday, Nepalese officials closed a section of the popular Annapurna trekking circuit because new groups of hikers had been streaming into the area where most of the victims died.

The snowstorms were whipped up by the tail end of a cyclone that hit the Indian coast a few days earlier. Hikers were caught off guard when the weather changed quickly.

Most of the victims were on or near the Annapurna trekking route, a 140-mile (220km) collection of trails through the Annapurna mountain range.

Published: Monday 20th October 2014 by The News Editor

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