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Avalanches hampering Nepal search
20 Oct 2014 10:10
Small avalanches hampered the search for Nepali porters and guides missing for six days after a devastating Himalayan storm, officials said this morning.
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Rescue crews have begun to scale back the hunt for survivors of the disaster, which killed at least 40 people.
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Nearly 600 people have been rescued from the popular hiking trail around Annapurna, the world's tenth highest peak, after it was hit by unseasonable snow and avalanches brought by the tail end of a cyclone that swept through neighbouring India.
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"Today is the last day of the search and rescue operation," said Keshav Pandey of the Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal, which has rescued more than 250 people
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"After this we can only hope that those who are missing will establish contact with us or their families.
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"We don't think that any tourist is missing now. I am getting reports that some local porters and tour guides who were on the trek have not been traced so far."
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The dead include Canadian, Indian, Israeli, Japanese, Nepalese, Polish and Slovak trekkers.
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Survivors said many people perished trying to descend in freezing whiteout conditions from the highest pass of the 240km trail around Annapurna, which offers dramatic views of crags and hamlets.
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Searchers retrieved another body this morning, taking the tally of deaths to 40.
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"Army rescuers dug out the body of an Israeli tourist from snow today," said Baburam Bhandari, chief of Nepal's Mustang district, which is one of the worst hit areas.
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