Five Koreans, four Nepali climbers killed on Mt Gurja

KATHMANDU: At least nine climbers including five Korean nationals were killed when a massive landslide buried the base camp of Mt Gurja (7,193 metres) on the lap of the south face of Mt Dhaulagiri in western Nepal, according to the expedition organiser.

Wangchu Sherpa, Managing Director at Trekking Camp Nepal said that five Korean climbers -- of Koreanway Gurja Himal Expedition 2018 -- including team leader Kim Chang-ho, along with their support staff were killed in the incident last evening.

Other deceased Korean climbers of the expedition have been identified as Lee Jaehun, Rim Il-jin, Yoo Youngjik, and Jeong Joon-mo.

Likewise, deceased Nepali climbers have been identified as Chhiring Bhote of Hatiya-2 , Dena Angjuk Bhote of Hatiya-6, Phurpu Bhote of Hatiya-6 all in Shankhuwasabha district, and Natra Bhadur Chantel of Dhaulagiri Rural Municipality-1 in Myagdi district.

A heavy snowstorm followed by landslide buried the base camp at 3,500m when the climbers were awaiting a fair weather to head towards the high camp, Sherpa quoted the eyewitnesses as saying.

A rescue helicopter was sent this morning.

Mountaineer Kim Chang-ho is the first Korean to summit the 14 peaks above 8,000m without using supplemental oxygen.

Meanwhile, Rastriya Samachar Samiti has reported that another team led by Nepali mountaineer Rajan Bhote including French, Canadian and Swiss climbers had left for the base camp to scale Gurja West (6,465 m), also known as 'Paschim Himal' or Ghustung Peak.