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Death toll in Everest avalanche rises to 13



Three others are still unaccounted for

KATHMANDU: After the rescuers dug out a dead body from the snow on the slope near Mount Everest's Camp I on Saturday, the official death toll in the Everest avalanche rose to 13, an official at the Tourism Minister confirmed.

Three others, however, are still unaccounted for.

The rescue operation resumed this morning, mobilising a team of skilled Sherpas who are acquainted with the treacherous areas of the world's highest mountain.

Army personnel unloading dead bodies from a chopper at the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu on Saturday. Photo: Nepal Army

As many as 12 bodies of mountaineering support staff and guides, who were killed on the spot after an avalanche hit them at an elevation of 5,900 metres near the Khumbu Icefall, were recovered yesterday.

Earlier today, five bodies of the victims were airlifted to Kathmandu, while seven were handed over to their respective families in Solukhumbu.

According to the Tourism Ministry's records, a total of 334 mountaineers representing 31 teams are headed for Mt Everest this season. More than 500 support staff have already arrived in the Khumbu region to prepare for the summit.

In this Sunday, May 18, 2003 file photo, mountaineers pass through the treacherous Khumbu Icefall on their way to Mount Everest.Photo: AP

Nepal Army's Disaster Assessment and Rescue Team (DART) and two helicopters were deployed for the rescue operation yesterday, the NA said today.

The NA team airlifted two dead bodies to Khumjung yesterday, and one to Pangboche and five to Kathmandu today.

A team of six icefall doctors and nearly 40 support staff headed to the avalanche-hit site to fix ladders and ropes, according to an Under Secretary at Tourism Ministry, Krishna Lamsal.

Official records show that a total of 334 mountaineers, representing 31 teams have taken permission for the Mt Everest expedition this season. To assist them, more than 500 support staff have already arrived in the Khumbu region.

READ ALSO: Tragedy on Everest: Search for the missing resumes

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