Seven people, including three Nepalis, have gone out of contact in Annapurna Base Camp areaAround 100 stranded tourists with their guides and porters have been rescued using helicopters.
Seven people—four foreign tourists and three Nepali high altitude workers—have gone out of contact in the Annapurna Base Camp area since Friday. The area has been witnessing heavy snowfall for the past few days.
Four South Korean tourists—two men and two women—and three Nepali workers who were trekking in the Annapurna region have gone out of contact. Police suspect that they might have gone missing after an avalanche struck the Hinku area in Annapurna Rural Municipality-11 at around 11 am on Friday.
"Lee Min Su, Jong Pil Bong, Kim Sook Ja and Choi Hyo Won are the Koreans, and Wangdak Sherpa, Saroj Pariyar and Min Bahadur Tamang are the Nepalis who have been out of contact in the Annapurna region," said Ramesh Kumar KC, the Chief District Officer of Kaski district.
Him Gurung, the ward chairman, told the Post that the victims might have gotten buried in the avalanche.
“Whereabouts of the missing persons are not known. Rescue is not possible until the snow melts in the area,” said Gurung. A rescue helicopter, according to Gurung, reached the area on Saturday but could not land.
“Four South Korean tourists and three Nepali nationals are out of contact. The rescuers were unable to reach the area even on Saturday evening,” said Dan Bahadur Karki, superintendent of police in Kaski.
The area has been seeing massive snowfall since Thursday night, which has made it difficult for authorities to carry out search operations. It takes a day to reach the area from the Ghandruk police unit, which is the nearest police base.
Around 100 people have been rescued from various places along the Annapurna Base Camp trekking route on Saturday. Three helicopters belonging to Simrik, Air Dynasty and Prabhu were used to rescue the stranded tourists and their Nepali guides and porters.
“We could rescue the stranded trekkers and their supporters as the weather improved on Saturday,” said Karki. Some of the trekkers were airlifted to Pokhara while others were taken to Chhomrong.
It is still not clear how many tourists and high altitude workers are in the Annapurna area for trekking and mountaineering.
Meanwhile, communications have been established with four Chinese tourists on Sunday who were reported to have gone out of contact in Manang since Saturday, said Deputy Inspector General Binod Sharma Ghimire, the head of Gandaki police.
Communication services in the area were disrupted for the past few days due to heavy snowfall.
(Aash Gurung contributed reporting from Lamjung)