The first trekkers from Israel, Hong Kong, and Germany rescued from the Mustang side of Thorung La were brought to Kathmandu on Wednesday and are undergoing treatment for severe sunburn and frostbite at the Army Hospital in Kathmandu. After a night of heavy snowfall and high winds, some of them had decided to walk down because the sun was out.
“Our plan was to stay in the tea shop to ride out the storm, but when we saw that it was all clear and bright the next morning we decided to walk down,” said Yakov Megreli (pic, center) at a press meet. But the snow was chest-deep and they got lost on their way down. After five hours, they could finally make a call on their mobile.
“We called the travel agency and embassy, and asked them to send helicopters. They picked us up on the mountain and flew first to Muktinath before bringing us to Kathmandu,” says Maya Ora.
The Israelis credited their porter Pasang Tamang, 46, of Rasuwa for saving their lives by guiding them through the snow when the blizzard started around 10am on Tuesday. “I can’t imagine what would have happened if he wasn’t there, we all got a second lease of life,” says Linor Kajan.
But Tamang himself was not so lucky and perished as he stayed on the trail to guide arriving trekkers. Two other Israelis were also buried in an avalanche below Thorung La along with two Poles and eight Nepalis. At Phu, four Canadians, one Indian and three Nepalis were killed.
At Dhaulagiri Base Camp, two Slovak climbers and their three Sherpa guides from a 11-member expedition have still not made contact after being caught in an avalanche.
Thirty two people are so far confirmed dead and hundreds are stranded and unaccounted for after Tuesday’s storm in the Annapurna, Dhaulagiri and Manaslu areas. Seventy trekkers were rescued from Manang and 47 from Mustang as this paper went to press on Thursday evening.
Manang, through which hundreds of tourists attempt to cross the Thorung La (5416m) into Mustang every day, was worst hit. Eighty-five of the 345 trekkers who registered at the ACAP checkpoint on Monday en route to Yak Kharka and Thorung Phedi haven’t made it over to the other side.
Trekkers contacted Germany through a satellite phone and said there was a “large group” of them on the pass waiting for rescue. The message was relayed to the Nepal Army which had three rescue helicopters in the area on Thursday.
The Army had brought out nine bodies from either side of the pass on Wednesday and Thursday. District administration office in Manang said eight trekkers were also buried in snow in the Phu Valley near the China border.
Linor Kajan, Yakov Megreli and Maya Ora talk to journalists at the Army Hospital on Thursday after being rescued from the Mustang-side of Thorung La on Wednesday. They credited their guide and the army for saving them.
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