KATHMANDU, Nepal – At least eight climbers, including a South Korean world-record holder, were killed after a violent snowstorm ripped through their camp in the Himalaya Mountains in Nepal, officials said Saturday.
The climbers — four South Koreans who were planning to summit the nearly 24,000-foot Mount Gurja, and their four guides — died Friday after falling off a cliff during the storm, the South Korean Foreign Ministry said Saturday.
Nepali officials said the bodies of the team's local guides were also spotted from a helicopter. A fifth climber from South Korea was missing and presumed dead.
"It seems no one is alive," said Wangchu Sherpa, managing director of Trekking Camp Nepal, the company overseeing the climbing expedition.
It was the deadliest accident to hit Nepal's climbing community since 2015, when an avalanche set off by an earthquake pummeled climbers on Mount Everest, killing 18 people.
Rescuers said Saturday that they had located the bodies of eight climbers near Mount Gurja's base camp, which sits more than 11,000 feet above sea level. But helicopters could not land in the area long enough to retrieve them because of strong winds and the remoteness of the camp.
Among the dead was Kim Chang-ho, a decorated climber who had scaled the world's 14 tallest peaks, including Mount Everest, in a record time span of seven years and 10 months, according to South Korean mountaineering officials.