AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE
KATHMANDU: Two mountaineers from Uzbekistan have gone missing after they were hit by an avalanche while trying to scale the 8,091-metre (26,550-feet) Annapurna mountain in Nepal, officials said Thursday.
Experienced Uzbek climber Ilyas Tukhvatullin, 54, and his climbing partner Ivan Lobanov, 51, were swept away on Monday evening and have not been found.
"They were at camp two at around 6,500 metres and their colleagues informed the base camp after they were hit by an avalanche," Tilak Pandey, an officer at the country's tourism ministry, told AFP.
Annapurna is both technically difficult and avalanche-prone and has a much higher death rate among climbers than Everest, the world's highest peak.
"We have called off a search by helicopters. We have sent Sherpas for a ground search," said Mahesh Chhetri from the expedition organiser Royal High Mountain.
Last month an avalanche on Mount Manaslu in Nepal killed nine mountaineers including five French, a Spaniard, a German, an Italian and a Sherpa guide.