Kathmandu (IANS): A total of 10 people, including foreign climbers, were reportedly killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest which was triggered by a magnitude 7.9 earthquake that hit Nepal on Saturday, a Nepal tourism ministry official said.
However, BBC quoted officials and reports as saying that the avalanche on Mount Everest killed at least eight people, and another five in Tibet.
An 11-member mountaineering team from the Indian state of Assam on an expedition to Mount Everest in Nepal was reportedly safe.
The team which was at the Base Camp of the world’s highest mountain, rapidly descended after the quake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale rocked the Himalayan nation.
“We are safe and are on our way down from the Base Camp to a place called Gorcep,” Pranay Bordoloi, one of the members of the team, informed over phone.
The team comprises nine climbers and two managers and has been in the Base Camp since April 18.
Meanwhile, as the powerful temblor hit Nepal at 11.41 a.m., climbers on Mount Everest kept tweeting to apprise well-wishers about their situation while unconfirmed reports stated eight casualties at the base camp.
At around 12,00 p.m. Daniel Mazur @danielmazur, a climber from England, tweeted: “A Massive earthquake just hit Everest. Basecamp has been severely damaged. Our team is caught in camp 1. Please pray for everyone.”
A few minutes later, Mazur’s tweet said: “Aftershock! #Everest team is in camp 1, hanging on. #Icefall route destroyed.”
At around 3.00 p.m., Mazur tweeted: “Aftershock! #Everest team is in camp 1, hanging on. #Icefall route destroyed.”
In another tweet, Mazur said: “#Everest base camp damaged. Camp 1 swept away, Daniel Mazur team stuck in camp 1. #Nepalquake”.
Thomas Kilroy [email protected], a friend of Mazur replied : “Keep safe Daniel – hang in there. We are all thinking of you and hoping your route to safety sees you home.”
At around 12.00 p.m., another climber Adrian Ballinger @alpenglowexp , from Squaw Valley, California, US, tweeted: “Big #earthquake just now in Everest BC. Lots of rock and ice falling. We all ok. Hoping more exposed South Side also ok. #Everest2015”
A minute later, Ballinger tweeted: “Strong aftershocks continuing here on North Side of #Everest. #earthquake #Everest2015”
Around 3.00 p.m. climber Ji Davidson from Fort Collins, Colorado, US, tweeted: “We’re safe at camp 1. Apparent earthquake. We had avi nearby, powder blast & glacier moved. Injuries in basecamp. Sta http://dlor.me/33G5Y6Z”
At 10.00 a.m., Davidson had tweeted: “We are above the icefall and safe at camp 1 at 19800 ft! http://dlor.me/DEN652B”
A Romanian mountaineer Alex Gavan @AlexGAVAN was quoted by club for climbers in a tweet saying that ” Everest base camp huge earthquaqe then huge avalanche from pumori. Running for life from my tent. Unhurt. Many many people up the mountain.”
Ang Tsering of Nepal Mountaineering Association was quoted as telling Sky News that the avalanche apparently happened between the Khumbu Icefall and the base camp.
At around 5.00 p.m. Adrian Ballinger @alpenglowexp tweeted: “Reported at least 8 dead in Nepal’s #Everest BC. Our Sherpa team’s hometowns of Phortse + Khumjung also hit hard. Grieving here. #earthquake”
At around 6.00 p.m., Alex Gavan, a mountaineer and photographer, @AlexGAVAN tweeted: “Huge disaster.Helped searched and rescued victims through huge debris area.Many dead.Much more badly injured.More to die if not heli asap.”
Minutes after the quake occurred, Gavan had tweeted: “Everest base camp huge earthquake then huge avalanche from pumori.Running for life from my tent. Unhurt. Many many people up the mountain.”
“At least 970 people had died in the quake, and that more than 1,700 injured… At least 539 people were killed in the Kathmandu valley, BBC quoted a national police spokesman as saying in the evening.