Nepal rescuers retrieve bodies of nine climbers

Dhaulagiri is the seventh highest mountain in the world

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 metres (yards) away.

The violent snowstorm buried the climbers at the base camp at an altitude of 3,500 metres near the south face of Mount Dhaulagiri in western Nepal on Friday evening, said Wangchu Sherpa, the Managing Director at Trekking Camp Nepal.

Nepali climbing guide Lakma Sherpa, who was assisting another Korean climber, said they were forced to return after the 77-year-old climber fell ill three hours before reaching the base camp on Thursday.

The South Korean embassy in Nepal said Sunday that all nine bodies were transported to a nearby village. after a mission that began early in the morning.

A helicopter was sent to investigate and spotted the bodies, but strong winds prevented the rescue team from retrieving the dead.

"The bodies of all five Koreans and four Nepalis have been identified", Budhamagar told Reuters from Myagdi district where the accident took place.

Police officials say the remote area is hard to reach by foot and locals are still looking for the remaining climber yet to be recovered.

"Base camp looks like a bomb went off", added Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a US-based emergency assistance group assisting in the retrieval effort.

Among the nine victims are Kim Chang-ho, the leader of the expedition team.

The peak was first reached by a Japanese expedition in 1969.

The permit listed four South Korean climbers, but a fifth member joined the team later, according to Mr Suresh Dakal of Trekking Camp Nepal.

Kim Chang-ho, who climbed the 14 highest mountains in the world in the fastest time in 2013, was one of the climbers who died.

Only 30 people have reached the apex of Mt. Gurja, the last one in 1996, according to the Himalayan Database.

The climbers were attempting to scale the 7,193-meter (23,590-foot) peak during the autumn climbing season.

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