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Nepal Earthquake: Mount Everest Avalanche Wounded Get Rescue Choppers

Choppers arrived on Sunday to take out the first of the injured, according to mountaineers and climbers.
/ Source: NBC News

Rescue helicopters airlifted badly-injured climbers off Mount Everest on Sunday, a day after an earthquake-triggered avalanche killed at least 17 people.

Climbers in base camp had appealed for helicopters overnight for the dozens of wounded left on the mountain after the avalanche swept through.

Choppers arrived on Sunday to take out the first of the injured, according to mountaineers and climbers.

"Clear sky makes helicopter rescue possible for the badly injured," 29-year-old Belgian climber Jelle Veyt tweeted. "Lot of injured still walking in medical camps."

Fellow climber Alex Gavan said it had been a long night and he was in need of sleep.

"All badly injured heli evacuated," climber Alex Gavan posted on Twitter. "Many people contributed."

Survivors flown down from Everest included three climbers from China, Japan, and South Korea. Several of the injured had bandages on their heads, one spotted with blood and all were able to walk, according to Reuters.

Shortly after, a massive aftershock was felt. Climbers said it triggered at least one fresh avalanche; it was not immediately clear how many or if anyone further had been injured.

Tourism ministry officials estimated that at least 1,000 climbers, including about 400 foreigners, had been at base camp or on the ascent to the peak when the earthquake struck, according to Reuters.

Complete Coverage: Nepal Earthquake

Seventeen avalanche victims have been recovered from Everest, Ang Tshering Sherpa, President of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, told NBC News. Sixty-one people were injured. Among the dead was Google engineer Dan Fredinburg.

The toll made Saturday's disaster the deadliest single day on the world's highest mountain. Just over a year ago, an avalanche above Everest base camp killed 16 Nepali sherpas.

The earthquake which triggered the avalanche has devastated Nepal, leaving nearly 2,800 people dead.

A rescue helicopter comes in for a landing to pick up the injured from Everest Base Camp on April 26, 2015.ROBERTO SCHMIDT / AFP - Getty Images
— Cassandra Vinograd and Tracy Snyder

Reuters contributed to this report.