7 climbers killed, 2 missing after storm sweeps through Nepal base camp

Mount Gurja in Nepal's Dhaulagiri range

Image Mount Gurja in Nepal's Dhaulagiri range

Eight members of a climbing expedition are dead and another is missing after a snowstorm at Nepal's Mount Gurja, police in the South Asian country said.

Wangchu Sherpa, of the Trekking Camp Nepal agency, which provided support to the climbers, said: "Our rescue operation is continuing and we are trying to find details".

Earlier, a police spokesman had said a helicopter pilot saw eight bodies scattered across the mountain. "(They) fell off a cliff and died", the South Korean foreign ministry said in a statement.

"Base camp looks like a bomb went off", said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a US-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Local villagers have retrieved at least six of the bodies, police said.

He added: 'Everything is gone, all the tents are blown apart'.

Police official Bir Bahadur Budamagar says that a storm Friday night destroyed their camp.

The previous year, 16 Sherpas were killed on Everest when an avalanche swept through the Khumbu Icefall during the busy spring climbing season.

The area lies about 216 km (130 miles) northwest of Kathmandu in the region where the world's seventh-highest mountain, Dhaulagiri, is located.

A sixth South Korean climber was staying at a village lower in the valley when the storm hit, after being forced to a lower altitude by health problems.

According to the Himalayan Database, no-one has stood on Gurja's summit since 1996.

The South Korean team were planning to scale the mountain via a never-climbed route, the Korean Alpine Federation said.

Four climbers have perished on its flanks and a total of 30 have successfully reached its peak - a fraction of the more than 8,000 people who have summited the world's highest mountain, Everest.

Powerful winds and snow swept through Nepal's Mount Gurja killing the entire team of nine climbers.

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