Nine climbers feared dead in Himalayas after violent storm destroys base camp

Police in Nepal fear nine climbers are dead after their base camp on a Himalayan peak was destroyed in a violent storm, according to reports Saturday.

Police said a five-member South Korean expedition team and four Nepali guides were at the base camp of Gurja Himal when the storm struck, the BBC reported.

“The camp was completely destroyed,” Myagdi district official Liladhar Adhikari was heard saying, according to the BBC. “[A recovery team] could see the bodies of the climbers scattered near the camp.”

Villagers who reached base camp Saturday afternoon found the bodies of four South Korean climbers, two Nepalese guides and another person yet to be identified, while the search was continuing for two more, police official Bir Bahadur Budamagar said, according to the Associated Press.

The two who were missing were also feared dead.

Local media reported that the dead include South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, the fastest person to reach the summits of the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Two rescue helicopters were unable to land Saturday due to bad weather conditions.

The climbers were attempting to scale the 23,590-foot peak during the autumn climbing season.

The BBC reported that according to the Himalayan Database no one has stood on Gurja’s summit since 1996.

Only 30 people have successfully climbed to its peak compared with more the than 8,000 people who have reached the summit of the world’s highest mountain, Everest.