At least nine climbers including a local guide have been killed in Nepal after they were buried by an avalanche on one of the world's most deadly mountains, local officials said.
The group of French, Germans and Italians were near the top of Manaslu ahead of a final push to the 8,156-metre summit when they were hit by a wall of snow on Saturday night, police said.
"Nine bodies have been recovered from the mountain that includes one Sherpa guide and a German mountaineer," Basanta Bahadur Kunwar, the local deputy superintendent of police, told the AFP news agency by telephone.
"We are yet to identify the nationalities of seven dead mountaineers whose bodies are still at the base camp," he said.
"So far, 13 people have been rescued alive, of whom five have been airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment," he added. The group was thought to have more than 20 members.
On Monday morning, the tourism ministry said that seven climbers were still missing.
"Seven climbers are missing. The rescue efforts were hampered due to bad weather yesterday. They will resume this morning," ministry spokesman Gyanendra Shrestha told AFP.
"The avalanche hit camp three of the Manaslu peak located at 7,000 metres resulting in a flood of snow"
- Laxmi Dhakal,
Head of disaster response division
Manaslu, the eighth highest mountain in the world, is considered one of the most dangerous, with scores of deaths in recent years and just a few hundred successful ascents.
"The avalanche hit camp three of the Manaslu peak located at 7,000 metres resulting in a flood of snow," Laxmi Dhakal, head of the home ministry's disaster response division, said.
Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 peaks more than 8,000 metres, including the world's highest, Mount Everest, and attracts thousands of mountaineers every year.
Most come in the spring, when Himalayan conditions are at their best, but there is also a short climbing season in late September and October after the monsoon rains end.