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Avalanche sweeps Mount Everest, 6 dead, 9 missing

Kathmandu, Nepal, Apr 18 (): At least six Nepali guides are feared dead, nine more are said to be missing and several other climbers were also injured when an avalanche swept Mount Everest slopes and hit a road used to climb the highest peak of the world on Friday, officials said.

All those missing, injured and killed had visited the place early in the morning to fit the ropes along the path to 8,850-metre summit meeting for climbers.

The avalanche swept the region at around 6-30 a.m. Friday just below Camp 2, Madhu Sudan Burlakoti, an official from Nepal Tourism Ministry said. Fellow climbers and rescuers at base camp went to the area immediately to help.

Kathmandu has sent helicopter for the search operations. Four bodies have been taken out whereas the rescuers had pulled out two more bodies out of the snow. Nine more climbers are missing and they are believed to be buried.

Hundreds of climbers along with their guides and assistant guides had assembled at the base camp, preparing for their last attempt to measure the 8,850-meter (29,035-foot) peak. Their expeditions have been planned to start in the early days of next month when the weather conditions become favourable.

The climbers have been making up their camps at greater altitudes and the guides have been fixing paths and ropes on the slopes in advance to the final climb to the summit meeting in May.

Since 1953, more than 4,000 climbers have ascended for the summit. The summit was first organised by Sherpa Tenzing Norgay and New Zealander Edmund Hillary. In this attempt, hundreds have died.

By the start of this year, Nepal had announced steps to well manage the number of climbers, lessen overcrowding and speeding up the rescue operation.

The preparations involved the report of security personnel and officials to the base camp—situated at 5,300 meters (17,380 feet)—where they would stay through the spring climbing season, that ends in May.

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