Emergency teams resume searches after Nepal blizzard that killed at least 3 Israelis

One Israeli tourist still missing as death toll of avalanche that claimed 20 lives is feared to rise.

October 17, 2014 08:27
2 minute read.
nepal avalanche

Nepalese army personnel drag the victims recovered after an avalanche at Thorang-La in Annapurna Region in this October 16, 2014.. (photo credit: REUTERS)

Emergency teams resumed searches on Friday morning for survivors of a deadly avalanche in Nepal that has claimed the lives of at least three Israelis so far.

Blizzards in the Annapurna mountain route killed at least 20 people while the death toll was expected to rise further with so many unaccounted for after snowstorms brought by the tail end of a cyclone that struck eastern India last weekend.

The Israeli fatalities were named as Lt. Tamar Ariel, 24, from Kibbutz Masuot Yitzhak, Agam Luria, 23, from Kibbutz Yifat, and Nadav Shoham, 30, from Hoshaya.

Another Israeli is still missing, and 13 have been hospitalized with minor injuries, such as frostbite. Another 13 Israelis are awaiting evacuation but are not in danger.

Israeli Ambassador to Nepal Yaron Mayer told Israel Radio Friday morning that the Foreign Ministry was working to repatriate the bodies of the deceased to Israel and evacuate hurt Israeli backpackers back to their home country.

Mayer added that embassy staff arrived to hospitals in the disaster area to locate additional Israelis.

Three young Israelis who were among the survivors at a military hospital in the capital spoke with the media of their ordeal.
Israeli survivors of Nepal blizzard speak of ordeal

"We were on a trip around Annapurna and I think the tenth day I think, we get to the pass which is at a height of 5, 400 metres," said Yakovi Megroli. "(There was) heavy snow, snowing and very powerful storm. But the Nepalese guides told us that we can continue and the storm will be much easier at the top, and around 12 o'clock... some of us got to the pass at 10 o'clock, some of us at 12 o'clock, and from that point forward we saw that the storm was very heavy people tried to think 'what should we do? Are we going to get down to Muktinath or stay at the tea shop on the pass?'"

"It was not an option to stay in the tea shop because of oxygen, lack of oxygen, so a lot of the people thought that there is no other choice, everybody is thinking you must go," said another of the survivors, Maya Ora.

"I was stuck in snow to here and the Nepali guy who knows the way saw me and he asked me to stay with him and just dragged me, really dragged me," said the third identified as Ms Linorkajen.

On Thursday, Nepalese army and civilian rescue workers say between 73 and 85 trekkers registered on the trail were unaccounted for. Not all of those people were necessarily trapped by the weather and some may have left the area, rescue workers said.

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