The death toll of Nepal’s Annapurna Circuit has reached 28, officials say, after blizzards struck at the height of the Himalayan climbing season.
There are fears the final toll will be higher. Nine bodies were found on October 16 and about 220 people have been rescued, but many are still missing.
Nepalese, Israeli, Canadian, Indian, Slovak and Polish trekkers are among those killed.
Severe rain and snow in Nepal appear linked to a recent cyclone in India.
Tuesday’s exceptional weather was said to be part of the remnants of Cyclone Hudhud.
Most of the deaths happened when a blizzard hit a point on the Annapurna Circuit, a well-known trekking route in central Nepal.
The bad weather hit a resting place 14,800ft above sea level, not far below the circuit’s highest point, the Thorung La pass.
October is a popular trekking season and there were likely to have been many climbers on the passes.
Two military helicopters were sent from the capital Kathmandu to assist the rescue operation on Wednesday and nine people were rescued overnight.
Many more were rescued in Thursday’s search, with both private and military helicopters deployed.
Rescue operations were called off for the day when darkness fell on Thursday evening, but will resume again on Friday, October 17.
This has been a deadly year for Nepal’s trekking and mountaineering industry, which brings in huge revenues to Nepal, one of the world’s poorest countries.
An avalanche on Mount Everest in April killed 16 Sherpa guides and resulted in a massive reduction of expeditions to the world’s highest peak.
The latest disaster comes during the peak trekking period. Thousands of tourists head to Nepal in October, many to enjoy its high altitude mountain passes and pristine beauty. But this freak heavy snowfall caught the trekkers off guard.
Nepal’s high peaks attract some of the world’s best climbers – but trekking is generally safe and appeals to masses of ordinary outdoor enthusiasts.
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