Blizzard triggered by cyclone Hudhud kills hikers in Nepal

Reuters News
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Posted: Oct 15, 2014 5:05 AM

By Gopal Sharma

KATHMANDU (Reuters) - Seven people including three foreigners and a group of yak herders were killed in Nepal by unseasonal snow blizzards and an avalanche triggered by the tail of the Hudhud cyclone, officials said on Wednesday.

The bodies of a Nepali citizen along with two Polish nationals and an Israeli hiker from the Thorang-La area were found along a popular trekking route near Annapurna, the world's 10th highest mountain, according to Baburam Bhandari, governor of Mustang district. Bhandari said they perished in a blizzard.

Mustang, about 150 km (93 miles) northwest of Kathmandu, borders Tibet and is popular among foreign hikers.

Separately, in neighboring Manang district three yak herders were killed after being swept away by an avalanche.

"We have rescued five German, five Polish and four Israeli trekkers who were trapped in the snowfall early on Wednesday," Bhandari told Reuters by phone without giving details. One German tourist fractured his leg, he said.

Nepal has been lashed by heavy rains for the past two days due to the impact of cyclone Hudhud that has battered neighboring India. The weather triggered blizzards at high altitudes.

Officials said some hikers are still believed to be out of contact because communication was disturbed by the bad weather.

The hikers' deaths come during the peak trekking season in Nepal, home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountain peaks including Mount Everest.

More than 12 percent of nearly 800,000 tourists who visited Nepal in 2013 went for hiking or mountain climbing, a key source of revenue for cash strapped nation.

Income from tourists accounts for four percent of the GDP.

(Reporting by Gopal Sharma; Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Simon Cameron-Moore)