Search team finds bodies of missing S. Koreans in Himalayan avalanche

A helicopter is deployed to find the victims after a wall of snow hit the Annapurna base camp in January. (Twitter pic/tag today)

KATHMANDU: A search team on Friday recovered the last remaining two bodies missing after a Himalayan avalanche in January buried four South Korean trekkers and three locals.

A wall of snow hit the trekkers at about 3,200m near the Annapurna base camp in Nepal on Jan 17, covering them under metres of snow.

Avalanches and more snowfall since then made it too dangerous to launch a proper search. Police returned to the area Friday last week after thawing snow revealed a bag.

“The two bodies were found this morning, a Nepali and a South Korean, after search teams dug through the snow. We have now recovered all bodies,” local ward chairman Him Bahadur Gurung told AFP.

“A helicopter is on standby to bring the bodies down once weather allows.”

The four South Koreans – two men and two women – were part of a team of volunteer teachers working with children in Nepal.

The body of their Nepal guide was found on Friday last week. Three bodies of the South Koreans were found in the next two days.

Another body, of a local guide who had worked for a Chinese team, was also found a month earlier.

The Korean Embassy in Nepal could not be reached for comment.

Nepal has been in a coronavirus lockdown for the past month with all trekking permits suspended.

Thousands of trekkers visit Nepal every year for its stunning views of the Himalayas and routes lined with picturesque villages.

The Annapurna region is particularly popular, with more than 170,000 visitors in 2018.