KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — Nepalese officials are casting doubt on the reported discovery of four bodies at the highest camp on Mount Everest.
Officials said Wednesday that a team of Sherpa rescuers had found the four bodies inside a tent at the South Col Camp.
Tourism Department official Durga Dutta Dhakal said some 30 climbers had already scaled Everest on Thursday and none of them reported seeing the bodies. The new climbers started from and ended their trip at South Col, Dhakal said.
Ang Tshering of Nepal Mountaineering Association said that even if four people had gone missing, their team members at base camp would already have notified authorities or other climbers.
There are only a few hundred climbers and their helpers at the base camp and most people would know if anyone disappeared, he said.
The Sherpa rescuers who announced the discovery of the bodies had already left the camp. They had gone there on a separate mission to recover the body of another climber who died over the weekend. They said the four bodies were found in the tent at Camp 4 at the South Col, located at 8,000 meters (26,247 feet). That is the last stop before climbers make their final push for the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) summit.
The weather conditions on the mountain this season are worse than previous years, delaying the first climb on May 15.
Four climbers died over the weekend on Everest, while two more had died earlier.