By Colleen Curry
Harrowing videos of Mount Everest climbers running from an avalanche and watching as the injured were airlifted off the mountain began to emerge today from the aftermath of Nepal’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake.
The climbers described chaos as the avalanche headed for the base camps where many of Nepal’s mountain climbing tourists, Sherpas, and guides were beginning their ascent of the mountain.
Footage captured by a German climber shows the terrifying moments after the earthquake hit when a wall of snow and ice came barreling down the mountain.A climber named Jelle Veyt posted another video today showing the moment when the avalanche rushed toward him on the mountain, prompting an outpouring of Facebook comments seeking information about the safety of other climbers on the mountain.
The Facebook account of Veyt’s climbing partner, identified by the name Carsten and the account name “Use the World,” has chronicled his time on the mountain since the earthquake struck north of Kathmandu on Saturday morning at around 11am. Carsten posted photos and videos of snow drifts coming down the mountain toward him at base camp, as well as updates about the hundreds of mountaineers stuck on the mountain.
“There are still hundreds of people stuck on the mountain in camp 1 and 2, and eventually they will run out of fuel and food, but until a new route through Khumbu Icefall has been established there is no practical way to get people down to base camp. You might be able to rescue a few with a helicopter, but not hundreds,” he wrote.
A climber named Sean Wisedale described the harrowing moments after the earthquake shook Everest and the surrounding area.
“From the neighboring mountain Pumori an avalanche was triggered. A massive ice slab sheared and thundered into Base Camp. It lifted rocks and boulders ahead of it, slamming into hundreds of tents in the center of the camp and spilling over onto the Khumbu glacier on the other side,” he wrote. “We all dived into our safest and most shielded tents. The horror was unimaginable as it went completely dark and we huddled around hoping not to be crushed alive. The tent held up. A minute later it had past but we all knew there were going to be casualties.”
Many of the climbers on the mountain who were caught in the avalanche suffered head injuries from the rocks swept up in the snow fall, Carsten said. He also described a team from the Indian Army being forced to lie flat, face-down, as an avalanche came over them while they climbed up the icefall. They all survived, he said.
The groups at base camp quickly began a search-and-rescue operation and transformed part of the mountain into a helipad to begin evacuating the critically injured.
The Associated Press reported earlier today that the first group of 15 survivors from the mountain had been safely evacuated to Kathmandu and were being treated for minor injuries. Dozens are feared missing and dead. – Vice News
By Colleen Curry