KATHMANDU - Dozens of foreign hikers and Nepali guides returning from a trekking trip to the base camp of Mount Everest have been cut off by heavy snowfall, a police official said on Sunday.
They have been forced to stay in four hotel resorts in the Gokyo area near the world's tallest peak, which has been battered by heavy snowfall following freak rains in the last 24 hours, police officer Chandra Dev Rai said from Salleri, the nearest town.
Gokyo lies in Solukhumbu region where Mount Everest is located and is a popular destination for hikers. Tens of thousands of trekkers and climbers visit the Solukhumbu region in northeast Nepal every year.
"There is chest-deep snow in the area. There is no report of any casualty so far. If the snowfall continues for long the tourists need emergency rescue," Rai told Reuters by phone.
Most mountainous areas in Nepal have experienced snowfall due to rains which are not common during this time of the year.
Weather officials in Kathmandu said the bad weather could continue for a couple of days, worsening the plight of the trapped tourists who could face a food shortage.
D.B. Koirala, chief of the Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal, said he had not received any SOS call from the hikers.