Avalanche-hit trekkers yet to be rescued

Pokhara, January 19

The whereabouts of seven persons, including four Korean nationals and three Nepali tourist guides, who had gone missing in an avalanche on a trekking route to Annapurna Base Camp on Friday morning, are still unknown.

Four Chinese nationals, who went missing while trekking along the Annapurna Trekking Route in Manang, were found safe, according to Annapurna Conservation Area Project. ACAP Pokhara’s tourist assistant Tek Gurung said the Chinese tourists had come into contact, near Muktinath Temple. Gandaki Zonal Police Office said yesterday that four Chinese tourists, who had registered their entry with ACAP office in Nisyang Rural Municipality-9, Manang, on January 12, had gone missing. Earlier, it was believed that they had not crossed Thorang La. But, today, it was found that they had reached Muktinath temple crossing Thorang La.

Kaski Police Chief SP Dan Bahadur Karki said a search operation was under way to locate missing four Korean tourists and three Nepali guides suspected to be stranded in an avalanche of Hing Ku cave between Himalaya and Deurali of ABC trekking route in Annapurna Rural Municipality-11, Kaski. “It is tough to reach the site due to snow. But, the police have reached there and started a search operation,” said SP Karki, adding, “They found nothing but some pieces of plastic.”

A joint team of members from Century Youth Club, local traders, Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal, Western Regional Association Pokhara and Union of Trekking Travels Rafting Workers Nepal have also reached the incident site for the search operation.

The missing guides are Wangdak Sherpa, Saroj Pariyar and Min Bahadur Tamang. Unitravel’s Chairman Bijay KC, who returned from the incident site said search operation had been hampered by heavy snowfall. He said the chance of locating the missing people was slim. “It takes around one-and-a-half months for the snow to melt,” he said. ACAP Chhomrong Chief Netra Sharma said they had warned the tourists not to go above Chhomrong area.