Rescuers were searching through piles of snow and ice on the slopes of Mount Everest on Saturday for four Sherpa guides who were buried by an avalanche that killed 13 other Nepalese guides in the worst single-day loss of life in the world’s highest mountain’s history.
The Sherpas were at an altitude of 5,800 meters (19,000 feet) when the avalanche hit, according to Madhu Sudan Burlakoti, joint secretary for the Tourism Ministry. He said that four people were also missing and that six had been injured. Some of the deceased were fixing ropes for climbers.
Everest is 8,848 meters (29,029 feet) high and the disaster occurred below Camp 2, the second of four camps between base camp situated at around 5,486 meters (18,000 feet) and the peak. Climbers and guides currently on the mountain are still in a preparatory stage, as weather conditions won’t allow them to actually summit the mountain until next month.
In 1996, eight people died in what had previously been the deadliest incident in Everest history, which was documented in Jon Krakauer’s book Into Thin Air.