Kathmandu: Nepalese authorities Thursday continued the search for victims of the snowstorm that caused the deaths of 19 mountaineers and four Nepali farmers, official sources told Efe news agency.
So far, 13 bodies continue to be trapped under the snow after Tuesday’s bad weather and have not been recovered, authorities of the different affected districts reported.
“Thirty one foreign hikers have been rescued by helicopters in different zones of Manang district,” said Deputy Police Superintendent Rajendra Babu Regmi, who added that four Canadians, three Indians and three Nepalis were among the victims in his district.
Regmi said he expected the number of those rescued to rise to 50 over the day.
Search operations by the army are slow because mountain roads have been cut and rescue teams are depending on helicopters.
In the neighbouring district of Mustang, the bodies of five of the eight people killed in an avalanche have been recovered.
The victims include two Israelis, one Polish citizen and one Indian, all of whom died while crossing the Thorung La pass at an altitude of 5,419 metres, said local official Baburam Bhandari.
Authorities fear that an unknown number of people are trapped in this pass, since the Annapurna region is very popular among hikers and mountaineers.
In 2013, around 90,000 foreigners visited the mountains and 20,000 crossed the Thorung La pass, according to data from the Annapurna Conservation Area Project.
In another accident, two Slovaks and three Nepalis died late Tuesday at the Dhaulagiri mountain base camp at an altitude of 8,167 metres.
After the recent cyclone Hudhud, which killed 24 people in India, unprecedented rain and snowstorms hit Nepal and the Himalayan mountain range, which is now at the peak of its hiking season.
Fatal accidents in the Himalayas are relatively common.
A German and an Italian mountaineer died in September in an avalanche during a mountain expedition at an altitude of 8,013 metres in the region.
In April, 12 Nepali Sherpas were killed and three others were seriously injured when they were buried under an avalanche on their way to one of the base camps on Mount Everest.