SANTOSH POKHAREL/SAMUNDRA POUDEL
POKHARA/TANAHUN, Sept 24: Three choppers on Monday morning have reached the base camp of Mt Manaslu to resume search and rescue operation for those gone missing in the avalanche which occurred a day earlier.
At least nine persons have been confirmed dead and more than three dozen others injured in the mishap so far. The rescue team is yet to ascertain the exact number of the missing persons.
According to Basanta Bahadur Kunwar, deputy superintendent of police of Gorkha, two helicopters of Fishtail Air and another of Simrik Air have reached the incident site this morning. "The rescue team is making preparations to airlift the injured to the capital for treatment," Kunwar said.
Meanwhile, six bodies including those of five foreign tourists and a Nepali have been identified so far. Among them German national Christian Mittimeyer and Nepali guide Babu Dorje Sherpa´s bodies have already been airlifted to Kathmandu on Sunday morning.
The bodies of French nationals Philippe Doh, Fadrice Priey, Ludovic Poul Challeat and Catherine Nisie have also been identified, informed police. All the four bodies have been kept at the Samagaun to be airlifted to Kathmandu.
Also three of the missing climbers have been identified as Dominique Ouimet of Canada, Remy Georges Lecluse and Gregory Ugocosta of France.
Five others have been rescued and brought to the capital informed Rakesh Rana, operation officer of Fishtail Air. The survivers are Xavier Logean, a Swiss national and French nationals Andre Massonet, Marc Poncin, Bernard Amiques and Arnauld De Fochier.
The rescue operation was halted Sunday due to bad weather. The accident site is at an altitude of 6,500 m in remote northern Gorkha.
Earlier, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation informed that 231 tourists in 25 groups had left for the area last week and were scheduled to scale the summit on Sunday.
According to trekking and mountaineering agencies, mountaineers from Germany, France, Italy, Austria and Ecuador, among other countries, had reached the Manaslu area for mountaineering expedition.