SEATTLE (Reuters) - The families of two Seattle teenagers missing in Nepal say there is no chance the girls survived a massive April earthquake, and the $51,000 that had been donated by Friday to fund a search mission will now go to the country's recovery.
The families of Bailey Sage Meola and Sydney Jo Schumacher, both 19, posted a message on social media on Thursday announcing that they believe the girls died while hiking in Nepal's Langtang Valley when a 7.8 magnitude quake struck on April 25.
"There are no words to describe the depths of our sorrow and loss," the families said.
The quake, which toppled homes and buildings and unleashed landslides, killed at least 8,000 people and left thousands homeless. Another quake, of 7.3 magnitude, rocked Nepal on Tuesday.
In the days after the first earthquake, friends and family of Meola and Schumacher set up a crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo.com seeking money to help pay for a search-and-rescue mission to try to find the girls in the high-altitude, remote area of the Himalayas where they were hiking.
After holding out hope the teens were alive, the families said on Thursday "it was clear that there was no chance our girls had survived."
The more than $51,000 that poured in from around the world to assist recovery efforts would now be funneled back to Nepal, they said.
"In due time we will announce our direction with donations made to our IndieGoGo, to aid the people & economy of the Langtang Valley region in the names of our beautiful daughters," it said.
Meola and Schumacher were 2014 graduates of Seattle's Garfield High School. They were spending several months traveling the world, their families said.
(Reporting by Victoria Cavaliere; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Eric Beech)