Six months after an avalanche on Mount Everest killed 16 Sherpas, another tragedy has the country of Nepal reeling.
This time blizzards and several avalanches struck in the Himalayas in central Nepal, causing the deaths of at least 26 trekkers and three farmers, according to a BBC News Asia report. Dozens more are reported missing, according to reports.
The disaster, which reportedly affected three mountainous districts, came at the peak of the trekking season when thousands of tourists flock to enjoy the beauty of high-altitude mountain passes.
The BBC reported that the bad weather struck a resting place at 14,800 feet, not far from the Annapurna trekking circuit’s highest point, the Thorong La pass.
The trekkers who were killed or remain missing were on their way down, the BBC said, adding that it is one the deadliest spells of bad weather ever seen in the region. The freak storm was from the remnants of cyclone Hudhud that hit India over the weekend.
The Wall Street Journal reported 100 tourists were crossing the nearly 18,000-foot-high Thorong La pass Tuesday when it began snowing heavily in the region, dropping 4 feet of snow.
A senior police officer in Mustang in northern Nepal told the Wall Street Journal that 70 to 80 of the tourists who had registered with the authorities to cross the pass were unaccounted for Wednesday evening.
Helicopters were dispatched to the regions to search for survivors and to retrieve bodies.
The Mount Everest tragedy earlier this year coupled with the latest disaster “will badly hurt Nepal’s tourism, with officials worried about the wider negative message it sends,” the BBC wrote.
Trekking and mountaineering are major economic boons for Nepal.
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