Buried alive... Man rescued becomes 'face' of Nepal quake
These pictures capture in excruicating detail the rescue of a man buried alive by the earthquake.
This man's picture went viral - making him the 'face of the quake'. Agencies
Seventeen bodies have been recovered at the base camp on Mount Everest where hundreds of climbers are stranded after an earthquake in Nepal on Saturday triggered an avalanche on the world's highest peak, a mountaineering official said.
The first helicopter took off from Kathmandu on Sunday morning to airlift the injured after flights were delayed by cloudy weather, Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told Reuters. At least 61 people were injured.
The avalanche swept down Everest, burying part of the base camp as climbers gathered near the main route to the summit at the beginning of the climbing season in the deadliest incident on the mountain.
US climber John Reiter said dozens of people had suffered critical injuries, many of them with head injuries. "It's been a rough 18 hours," he told CNN.
An Indian army spokesman said earlier a climbing team found 18 bodies on Saturday in the first hours after the quake. Nepal's Tourism Ministry could only confirm 10 deaths, but spokesman Gyanendra Shrestha said the toll could rise.
One of those killed was Dan Fredinburg, a Google engineer based in California. He suffered head injuries when the avalanche hit, according to a statement from the mountaineering company that had taken him to base camp.
"We pray too for all those who have lost their lives in one of the greatest tragedies ever to hit this Himalayan nation," Jagged Globe said.
Tourism ministry officials estimated that at least 1,000 climbers, including about 400 foreigners, had been at base camp or on the ascent to the peak when the earthquake struck.
April is one of the most popular times to scale the 8,850-metre (29,035 foot) peak before rain and clouds cloak it at the end of May. Almost exactly a year ago, an avalanche killed 16 Nepali guides in what was the single deadliest day on the mountain.
Saturday's 7.9-magnitude quake was the strongest to hit Nepal for 81 years. It also shook neighbouring India, China and Bangladesh. Early on Sunday, the official death toll stood at more than 1,800 people in Nepal.
Nick Farr, an Australian climber of The Everest Academy and Trek Climb Ski Nepal, said efforts to find out the situation at base camp were being hindered by poor phone coverage.
"Nothing is being received out of there at the moment," he said.
Steve Moffat, a mountain guide and operations coordinator for New Zealand-based Adventure Consultants, said two Nepali staff had been killed when the avalanche tore through base camp.
A further 31 staff and climbing clients - including two from the United States, five from New Zealand and one each from Australia, Italy and Iceland - were safe but stranded at Camp 1, further up the mountain.
"The first stage and the first priority is to get them down to base camp. We don't know if it's going to be possible to get them down and out through the Khumbu Icefall or whether we will need to chopper them out," Moffat said from New Zealand.
Climbers above Everest base camp all safe
There are around 100 climbers at camps 1 and 2 on Mount Everest, above base camp, and all are safe after an earthquake set off an avalanche, the head of the Nepal Mountaineering Association said on Sunday.
It will be difficult to evacuate the climbers as the route back to base camp through the Khumbu icefalls is blocked, Ang Tshering Sherpa told Reuters.
The avalanche that swept through parts of base camp had the combined force of two separate snowslides from different peaks, Sherpa said, and blanketed the camp in powder snow. Seventeen bodies have been recovered and 61 climbers were injured.
Death and panic on Mt Everest
Climbers on the world's highest mountain pleaded for help on Saturday after a massive earthquake triggered an avalanche at Everest base camp.
Base camp was crowded with foreign mountaineers and their sherpa teams at the start at the climbing season when the avalanche hit, destroying camps and sending slabs of ice crashing in what was described as a "huge disaster".
"Running for life from my tent. Unhurt. Many many people up the mountain," tweeted Romanian climber Alex Gavan who had been preparing to ascend nearby Lhotse, the world's fourth highest peak.
"Huge disaster. Helped searched and rescued victims through huge debris area. Many dead. Much more badly injured. More to die if not heli asap," he later tweeted.
'Destroyed by the shake'
"Many camps have been destroyed by the shake and wind from the avalanche. All the doctors here are doing our best to treat and save lives," Sherpa said.
"Big slabs of ice" hanging near camp two, further up the mountain from base camp, came crashing down after the earthquake, with poor communications compounding fears for climbers there.
"We had some 10 to 15 climbers including some sherpas up there and we still don't have any confirmation reports (of) whether they are OK or not," climber Arjun Vajpai told India's NDTV.
"It is snowing here for the past one and a half days. We haven't been able to establish radio communication with them," he added.
Some 700 climbers are in Solukhumbhu district that includes Everest, with 300 thought to be at base camp itself, and another 300 just below, deputy superintendent of police Chandra Dev Rai said.
Another climber Daniel Mazur, from SummitClimb, tweeted that base camp "has been severely damaged" while his team was caught at camp one. "Please pray for everyone."
He later tweeted to say that we "have no damage and are all safe".
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