DHARAMSALA, April 19: An avalanche on Friday killed at least 12 Sherpa guides and left several others missing in the single deadliest accident so far on Mount Everest, Nepali officials said.
The avalanche stuck around 6:45 am in an area just above the base camp at 5,800m (19,000ft).
A group of Sherpa guides had climbed up the slope early in the morning to fix ropes and prepare the route for the climbers when the avalanche hit, officials were quoted as saying by the Associated Press news agency.
Search and rescue operation is now underway and several injured climbers have been brought to the base camp.
The accident comes during the period when climbers arrive at base camp to acclimate to the altitude before scaling the world’s highest mountain.
Between May 15 and 30 is usually considered as the best period for scaling the 8,848 m (29,028 ft) peak located on the Nepal-Tibet border.
The worst recorded disaster on Everest before this avalanche occurred on May 11, 1996 when eight climbers were killed by a snowstorm. Their tragic story formed the basis of Jon Krakauer’s bestselling book ” Into Thin Air “.
Since Edmond Hillary and Tenzin Norgay first conquered Everest in 1953, more than 3000 climbers have scaled the peak but many have also died in the attempt.