Everest avalanche death toll rises to 13

Three Sherpas are still missing after the most deadly accident in the mountain's history.

    Rescuers have recovered the body of another mountain guide after an ice avalanche on the lower slopes of Mount Everest, bringing the death toll to at least 13 in the deadliest accident on the world's highest mountain.

    Officials said that Saturday's recovery of the body still left three sherpas unaccounted for.

    The avalanche struck a perilous passage called the Khumbu Icefall, which is riddled with crevasses and piled with serac or huge chunks of ice that can break free without warning.

    Ang Kami Sherpa, 25, one of at least three survivors told Reuters news agency that the guides "couldn't run away", as ice from the mountain hurtled down at them.

    Climbers declared a four-day halt to efforts to scale the 8,848-metre summit and, while some decided to abandon their mission. Some others said they would go ahead after talking to their guides. All of the victims were sherpa mountain guides.

    "Everyone is shaken here at Base Camp. Some climbers are packing up and calling it quits, they want nothing to do with this," Tim Rippel of Peak Freaks Expeditions wrote in a blog.

    Shocked relatives wondered how they would cope without the men who take huge risks to earn up to $5,000 for a two-month expedition - around 10 times average annual pay in Nepal.

    "He was the only breadwinner in the family," said 17-year-old Phinjum Sherpa, as she waited for the body of her uncle, Tenji Sherpa, at a Buddhist monastery in Kathmandu. "We have no one to take care of us."

    Although relatively low on the mountain, climbers say the icefall is one of the most dangerous places on Mount Everest.

    SOURCE: Reuters


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