Updated: April 26, 2015 1:27:09 pm
The first rescue plane carrying people injured in an avalanche at the Everest base camp arrived in Kathmandu on Sunday carrying 15 climbers who survived the collapse triggered by Nepal’s worst earthquake in 81 years.
Seventeen bodies have been recovered on Mount Everest base camp after a severe earthquake on Saturday set off an avalanche, making it the deadliest disaster in the history of mountaineering on the world’s highest peak.
Foreign climbers and their Nepalese guides around Mount Everest were caught by the tremors and a huge avalanche that claimed the highest toll of any disaster on the world’s highest mountain.
Seventeen bodies were recovered on Mount Everest base camp and 61 were injured when part of the base camp was engulfed by the snowslide, Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told Reuters.
A first helicopter took off from Kathmandu on Sunday morning to airlift the injured after flights were delayed by cloudy weather, Sherpa said.
Two light helicopters shuttled the injured from base camp to a lower altitude, from where they could be evacuated back to the capital, emergency officials at Kathmandu airport said.
Hospitals across the impoverished nation of 28 million people struggled to cope with its worst quake in 81 years. They expected a fresh influx of patients on Sunday but medical supplies were running low.
More than 1,000 climbers were on Everest at the start of their season when disaster struck.
The first injured were helicoptered out in the morning, Romanian climber Alex Gavan tweeted from base camp.
“All badly injured heli evacuated,” Gavan said. “Caring for those needing. want sleep.”
Another 100 climbers higher up Everest at camps 1 and 2, were safe but their way back down the mountain was blocked by damage to the treacherous Khumbu icefalls, scene of an avalanche that killed 16 climbers last year.
In the Annapurna mountain range, where scores were killed in the nation’s worst trekking accident last year, many hikers were stranded after the quake, according to messages on social media, but no deaths there had been reported.
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