3:10 am - Sunday November 8, 2015

More Hikers Rescued From Deadly Nepal Route

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Authorities in Nepal have closed a popular trekking route in the Himalayas after new hikers had to be rescued from the Annapurna area days after dozens were killed in blizzards and avalanches.

Trekkers from Canada, India, Israel, Slovakia, Poland and Japan were among at least 39 who died as bad weather triggered by a cyclone which hit the India coast affected the area last week.

Yadav Koirala, of Nepal’s Disaster Management Division, said the final rescue helicopter flights into affected Mustang, Manang and Dolpa districts were planned for Monday.

He said: “We believe that all the trekkers and guides have been helped and as far as we know there are no more people stranded on the route.”Some 34 bodies pulled from the snow along the route have now been identified. Most have been flown to nearby towns or Kathmandu for autopsies.

Most of the hundreds of trekkers who had been stuck have now been brought to safety, according to government official Yama Bahadur Chokhyal.He said: “Our rescuers and helicopters ended up having to bring down these new people while we were still trying to reach the ones who were stranded by the blizzard.

“It was burdening and confusing the rescuers.”

Most of the victims were on the Annapurna route, a 140-mile collection of trails through the mountain range.

The largest number of fatalities occurred on Thorong La pass, one of the highest points of the circuit.Hikers were caught off-guard when the weather, affected by the cyclone, changed quickly.

Police official Bikash Khanal said 502 trekkers, guides and others have now been rescued since operations began on Wednesday.

Thousands of people head to the Annapurna region every October, when monsoon rains clear and the weather is at its best for trekking.

In April, 16 guides were killed in an avalanche on Mount Everest, forcing authorities to shut routes up the mountain.

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