Mount Everest search ongoing for 3 sherpas missing after avalanche
Helicopter being used to search for the missing in 1st major incident of this climbing season
Three Nepali sherpa guides are missing on Mount Everest after an avalanche swept down and buried them in a crevasse on Wednesday, a Tourism Department official said.
The avalanche hit the most popular southeast ridge route to the summit of the world's tallest mountain.
Three guides who were ferrying climbing gear for their clients were caught at an unspecified site between the Base Camp and Camp I on its lower parts.
The Everest Base Camp, which turns into a tented city during the March to May climbing season, is located at an altitude of about 5,350 metres, and Camp I is pitched across the treacherous Khumbu Icefall, the first major physical hurdle to the peak, at an altitude of about 6,050 metres.
"A block of snow fell and buried them," Tourism Department official Yubaraj Khatiwada told Reuters.
Wednesday's disaster was the first on Mount Everest during this year's climbing season, when hundreds of foreign and Nepali climbers are expected flock to the mountain to attempt to climb its 8,849 metres.
Climbing Everest a popular adventure sport
Mount Everest was first climbed by New Zealander Sir Edmund Hillary and his climbing mate sherpa Tenzing Norgay in 1953.
Thousands of climbers have scaled the peak since then and about 300 climbers have perished on its slopes so far, including 18 people after an avalanche in 2015.
Khatiwada said a search helicopter had been mobilized for the sherpas who are believed to have been buried in a 50-metre crevasse.
A ground search team also failed to locate the missing climbers so far, Khatiwada said.
Nepal, tucked between China and India, is home to eight of the world's 14 tallest peaks, including Everest.
Climbing Mount Everest and many other smaller peaks is a popular adventure sport in Nepal, as well as a source of employment and income to the cashed-strapped nation.