An avalanche in the Himalayan region of central Nepal has killed at least 17 climbers, including at least eight foreign nationals, officials said Wednesday. More than 100 people are reportedly missing in the blizzard, which was triggered by the tail of Cyclone Hudhud.
Some bodies of the deceased, who include Polish, Israeli and Nepalese citizens, were recovered from Thorong La pass, about 100 miles northwest of the capital, Kathmandu, while 40 others were rescued, Nepalese army official Niranjan Shrestha reportedly said. According to reports, 12 of the deaths were in the Annapurna region. The avalanche, which hit the area on Tuesday, was reportedly caused by the remnants of Cyclone Hudhud, which killed at least 24 people and caused widespread devastation in southeastern India over the weekend.
"There has been heavy snowfall in the area, up to three feet (91 centimeters)," a police official in charge of the rescue effort reportedly said. "Among the dead are two Polish trekkers and one Israeli. A Nepali was also buried by the snow," he reportedly said, without revealing any other detail.
Local police officials reportedly said that 152 foreign tourists in Mustang district in the Dhawalagiri zone of northern Nepal could not be contacted.
“The phone network is not very good so we have not been able to get in touch with the missing, but we hope to find them later today,” Mustang district official Baburam Bhandari said, ABC News reported. Bhandari also reportedly said that five Polish nationals, four Israelis and five German citizens had been rescued.
The rescue operation, which was hampered by heavy snow, reportedly resumed after the weather cleared up on Wednesday. According to BBC, Cyclone Hudhud is now moving from Nepal toward China.
Meanwhile, the bodies of five more trekkers -- four Canadians and an Indian -- who died Tuesday were recovered Wednesday in remote Manang district, Narayan Datta Chapagain, a local police official told CNN.