Kathmandu, Oct 17 :
Nepalese authorities have still not been able to contact around 300 hill walkers and trekkers, including 60 foreigners, after a snowstorm that killed 27 people in the Himalayan country’s western region, sources said Friday.
Around 200 people could not be reached in the vicinity of Throung La pass, the highest point of the Annapurna trekking circuit (17,779 feet), media officer of the Trekking Agents Association of Nepal, Machindra Aryal, told Efe news agency.
The spokesperson said these people could be in the two camps situated at a height of 14,600 feet and 15,912 feet, respectively, where hikers usually stop before climbing Throung La pass.
Aryal said there were many foreigners among the people who were out of contact, but did not specify the exact number.
Usually this area can be contacted by telephone, but the recent snowstorm had snapped all connections and made it difficult for the rescue teams to reach there, western Nepal regional administrator Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya said.
The 21-day-long Annapurna circuit is very popular among trekkers and climbers and does not require special training.
In 2013, around 90,000 foreigners travelled the circuit, out of which 20,000 went through Throung La pass, according to data of the Annapurna Conservation Area Project.
Another 100 people, including 60 foreigners, were also out of touch in the remote Dolpo region, near the Tibetan border, trekking agent Jitendra Jhankri said.
According to Jhankri, it was normal that no contact could be established under the circumstances.
“It is unlikely that they were hit by the snowstorm,” Jhankri said.
Nepal was hit by heavy snowfall early this week after a cyclone lashed India’s southern coast Sunday and at least 27 people died, including citizens of Canada, India, Nepal, Slovakia, and Poland.
So far, 226 people have been rescued alive, including five Spaniards who were found at Tilicho Lake, which, at a height of 16,076 feet, is one of the highest lakes in the world.
Fatal accidents in the Himalayan region are relatively common.
In April, an avalanche killed 12 Nepalese sherpas and seriously injured three others when they were heading to one of the base camps on Mount Everest.