Entries in Nepal (6)


Californian Survives Avalanche That Kills at Least Nine in Nepal

Hemera/Thinkstock(LAMJUNG, Nepal) -- When a massive avalanche swept over a camp of sleeping mountain climbers on one of the highest peaks in the world, Glen Plake of California was one of the lucky ones.

At least nine people were killed in the avalanche and another six are missing, swept away and buried under tons of snow and ice on Sunday. Ten climbers survived, but many of them were injured.

Plake was on Nepal's Mount Manaslu, the world's eighth-tallest peak, when the avalanche struck about 4 a.m. It roared through a group of tents at Camp 3 where about two dozens climbers were sleeping.

"We won the lottery with this one," Plake's father, James Plake, told ABC News. "Glen does this kind of stuff all the time so we are always worried, but he called us instantly with this one, called Kimberly [wife], and said 'whatever they say on the news I am alive and I'm ok.'"

Other survivors describe a brief and terrifying few seconds, and then a darkness that slowly lifted to reveal a landscape of scattered bodies. The dawn brought a scene of mayhem.

Eric Simonson, owner of International Mountain Guides out of Washington state, had a party of campers that went to the rescue.

IMG's team at Camp 2 climbed 2,000-plus feet to help rescue survivors, who had lost most of their gear, including boots, on the frigid mountain. The avalanche struck at an altitude of 23,000 feet, just short of the 26,760-foot peak.

"Our guides were part of the team that responded to search for survivors and also evacuate the injured people," Simonson said. "They assisted locating and digging out the survivors and the remains of the dead and then also coordinating the helicopter flights."

Helicopters circled overhead searching for survivors or bodies.

"Our understanding is the avalanche was triggered by a large ice wall collapse," Simonson said. "In this case you have an ice wall weighing probably thousands of tons collapsing in a snowstorm that makes the snow move."

Simonson said the availability of "very powerful" AS350 B3 helicopters that can function in the thin air that high up the mountain was essential to saving more lives.

"They're quite remarkable," Simonson said. "Had this happened a year or two ago it would have been impossible to fly to the site of the avalanche."

"The helicopters were able to come in and evacuate the people directly from there, so they didn't have to find boots, clamp-ons, climbing gear or things they would have needed to climb down," Simonson said. "So that was fortuitous."

A total of 231 climbers and guides were on the mountain but not all were at the higher camps hit by the avalanche.

The avalanche came at the start of Nepal's autumn climbing season, when the end of the monsoon rains makes weather in the high Himalayas unpredictable.

IMG's team is safely back at the base camp and is trying to decide if they should try the climb again or call it quits, Simonson said. This was the first time a team from IMG has climbed Manaslu.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Snake Bites Nepalese Man, Man Bites Back

Hemera/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- It seems Mohamed Salmo Miya believes in the old phrase, "An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth."

The 55-year-old Nepalese man exacted revenge on a venomous snake that had bitten him by doing the same to the reptile, according to the news agency AFP.

He was farming on Tuesday when the cobra bit him.

"I was very angry after the snake bit into me.  Then I followed the snake, grabbed it and bit it to death," he told the Annapurna Post.

He further explained that he chose to bite the snake, as opposed to killing it by some other method, because he was "mad with anger and wanted to take revenge."

Miya received treatment at a local clinic.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


15 Dead, Six Alive After Plane Crash in Nepal

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(KATHMANDU, Nepal) -- Fifteen people were killed on Monday when a plane flying to a sacred temple in Nepal crashed in the northern part of the country.

Six others aboard the Agni Air plane survived and are being treated at a nearby hospital.

According to officials, the plane hit a hillside as it attempted to land at Jomsom airport.

"It hit a muddy slope and the plane is now buried in the side of the hill," police spokesman Binod Singh told AFP.

Of the 15 dead, 13 were Indian passengers and two were Nepali pilots, officials said.  An air stewardess, two Danish passengers and three Indian passengers, two of whom are children, survived the crash, reports the BBC.

The plane was said to be flying from Pokhara to Jomsom to leave its passengers close to Muktinath Temple, a pilgrimage site for Hindus and Buddhists.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Nepal Bus Crash Kills 40+

Stockbyte/Thinkstock(KATHMANDU, Nepal) -- At least 43 passengers aboard a bus in eastern Nepal were killed Thursday when the vehicle swerved off a mountain road and fell into a river, according to police.

Police told AFP the bus plummeted 300 meters -- or about 984 feet -- into the Sun Kosi River, about 50 miles from Kathmandu.

"Forty-three dead bodies have already been recovered and the bus has been destroyed.  It is likely that more bodies will be found near the crash site, which is very remote," Lokendra Shrestha, police officer in Sindhuli district, told AFP.

Several passengers were also injured in the accident, two critically, AFP reports.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Tourist Plane Crashes Near Mt. Everest, Two Americans Among Dead

Hemera/Thinkstock(KATMANDU, Nepal) -- Two Americans were among 19 people aboard a passenger plane who were killed Sunday when the aircraft crashed in Nepal.

Local aviation officials said that the Buddha Air Beechcraft was on its way back to Katmandu after a sight-seeing tour of Mount Everest.

While an investigation into the accident is ongoing, it's believed the pilot's vision was hampered by heavy fog.

Mountain flights in Nepal are very popular with tourists, which allows them to see the highest peaks in the Everest region.

In addition to the Americans, the victims were from India, Japan and Nepal.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Baburam Bhattarai Elected as Nepal Prime Minister

PRAKASH MATHEMA/AFP/Getty Images(KATHMANDU, Nepal) -- Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has been elected as the new Prime Minister of Nepal.

In a vote which took place on Sunday, Dr. Bhattarai, of the Maoist party, secured 340 votes from lawmakers, to beat out his rival Ram Chandra Paudel of the Nepali Congress Parliamentary Party. Paudel secured 235 votes from lawmakers.

Following the win, Dr. Bhattarai addressed the media at his residence on Sanepa, stating that he would work towards the completion of peace process, while also asking that members of both parties comprise his cabinet, which he will attempt to turn into a national consensus government, reports the Himalayan Times.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio