Tragedy has struck the start of Nepal's fall climbing season as nine climbers were killed and six were reported missing in an avalanche that struck a group of largely French and German visitors. More:
Ten climbers survived but many were injured and were flown to hospitals by rescue helicopters, police official Basanta Bahadur Kuwar said. The avalanche struck Sunday morning on the high slopes of Mount Manaslu in northern Nepal, and deteriorating weather halted air searches of the mountain by afternoon.
The peak is the eighth highest in the world. Nepal's autumn mountaineering season comes right after the end of the monsoon rains, which make weather conditions unpredictable, and is less popular than spring, when hundreds of climbers crowd the high Himalayan peaks.
The avalanche hit a camp at 7,000 meters (22,960 feet) early in the morning as the climbers were preparing to head toward the summit, which is 8,156 meters (26,760 feet) high. The cause of Sunday's avalanche was not immediately determined.
There were Italian, German and French teams on the mountain, with a total of 231 climbers and guides, but not all were at the higher camps, officials said.
Kuwar said the bodies of a Nepalese guide and a German man were recovered and rescue pilots spotted seven other bodies on the slopes. Spain's Foreign Ministry said from Madrid that one climber killed was Spanish. The identities of the others were still being confirmed.
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