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Over 2000 stranded near Everest base camp,weather hits rescue

Authorities had to close the only airstrip serving Lukla due to bad weather.

Written by Agencies | Kathmandu |
November 5, 2011 8:26:21 pm

Over 2,000 foreign tourists,most of them from the US,UK and Germany have been stranded near a Mount Everest base camp for the last six days facing a shortage of food and medicines,with rescuers managing to airlift only 120 tourists so far.

Rescue helicopters began to bring out the 2,500 marooned trekkers from the Lukla airport today,but efforts were hampered by poor weather conditions.

Authorities had to close the only airstrip serving Lukla due to bad weather.

Nepalese army spokesman Ramindar Chhetri said more than 120 people had been airlifted,but over 2,400 tourists mostly from US,UK and Germany were still stranded at Lukla,which serves as a gateway for trekkers and mountaineers headed for the Everest base camp.

The trekkers have been stranded at the airstrip for the past six days and are reported to be running short of food and medicines.

Though thick fog continued to hamper rescue efforts,some small helicopters run by private operators managed to land at Lukla to pick up the marooned tourist in batches.

Chhetri said that poor visibility had prevented the landing of larger MI-17 helicopters for the second consecutive day to operate rescue ferries.

With the number of stranded tourists increasing,some of them are taking shelter in tents as hotel accommodation is running thin.

The Everest base camp is a big draw with tourists visiting Nepal,with thousands flocking to the region during the current peak season.

Around 700 travellers fly in and out of Lukla on a normal day,when weather condition is good.

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