KATHMANDU - A rescue helicopter spotted nine more bodies Saturday on a trekking trail in northern Nepal, bringing the death toll to 38 from this week's series of snow storms and avalanches in the worst hiking disaster in the Himalayan nation. The bodies were seen from the air in Dolpa district, but the steep terrain made it impossible for the helicopter to land, said Yadav Koirala from the Disaster Management Division in Katmandu. The helicopter picked up three survivors and rescuers on foot would be sent to the area to retrieve the bodies, he said. The victims are most likely Nepalese porters, said Ram Chandra Sharma of the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal.
Dolpa district is next to Manang and Mustang districts in the popular Annapurna mountain range trekking trail where most of the foreign trekkers and Nepalese guides and villagers were killed this week. Among the dead were Canadians, Indians, Israelis, Slovaks and Poles. While more than 300 people have been rescued, sometimes plucked from mountainsides by helicopters and taken to nearby villages and towns, dozens more are still taking shelter in isolated mountain huts, said government administrator Yama Bahadur Chokhyal.
- The Associated Press