Shalom Life | October 19, 2014

Six Israelis Dead, 12 Still Missing After Avalanche in Nepal

A freak storm and several avalanches leave dozens dead, including several Israeli tourists.

By: Caitlin Marceau

Published: October 17th, 2014 in News » World

It’s a sad day in Nepal as the bodies of mountaineers are continuing to emerge since the devastating avalanches and blizzards that have claimed the lives of 29 people.

According to a report by The Times of Israel, rescue operations to evacuate stranded hikers was forcibly delayed due to high winds and dangerous weather that made helicopter too risky to continue. However the operation is back underway and now with the increased support of the government in the ongoing rescue operations.

In the report they claim there was international criticism as originally it was only the army, along with several independent hiking groups, that had decided to venture out into the mountains to help rescue the stranded trekkers. Now, however, the Nepal government has launched a high profile committee to assist with the rescues as best, and most efficiently, as possible.

Among the dead are four Canadians, three Indians, three Nepali villagers, and three Israelis. There are fears, however, that the Israeli death toll is much higher as the Nepalese Times claims there are six Israelis reported as deceased with another 12+ missing. While this report has not been confirmed by the Israeli Foreign Ministry, the newspaper is claiming that an Israeli-run tour company has backed these numbers.

So far over 200 people have been rescued from the mountains, a dozen of which have been Israeli tourists, but the number of missing people is still high.

According to Lino Kajan, one of the Israeli tourists, as reported by The Times of Israel, “I was sure I was going to die on the way to the pass because I lost my group, I lost all the people I was with and I could not see anything. One Nepalese guide, who knows the way, saw me and asked me to stay with him. And he dragged me, really dragged me, to the tea shop. And everybody there was really frightened.”

Once in the tea shop Yakov Megreli, another of the Israeli survivors, explains in the article that, “We tried not to sleep. We tried not to get hypothermia. It was a very frightening and awful situation.”

The survivors have all been brought to hospitals and most of them are being treated for frostbite and hypothermia. Unfortunately for the deceased hikers, their bodies won’t be collected immediately as many of them are buried in 6+ feet of snow, which will take several days to clear.

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