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Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal (HRA) is a non profit non governmental organization established in 1973. It runs Aid-posts in the mountain at Manang in the Annapurna region and Pheriche, in the Everest region.
Our attention is drawn to the news report dated 26 October, 2005 published in Kantipur Daily and The Himalayan Times Daily regarding a large number of tourists stranded in Manang area. As soon as we came to know this news we contacted our Aid-post at Manang to know the weather update and other condition. HRA staff at Manang Aid-post Mr. Gobinda Bashyal said that the weather has been improving in the last 4 days. There hasn't been any serious accidents and illness reported from Manang area. We have also been informed that some trekkers have already started to cross over Thrung-la pass.
There was heavy snow fall in Manang area of Anapurna region last week. Because of a lot of snow Thrung-la (pass) was closed for few days and trekkers were waiting at the lodges. On October 24 we have been reported that about 50 trekkers were stranded at Tilocho base camp. All of them including a group from Peregrine were airlifted by helicopter. After the weather improved trekkers has started to cross Thrung-la.
Because of the heavy snow fall there was an avalanche at the base camp of Kang Guru Himal. Because of the snow avalanche 7 French climbers and 11 support staffs including porters have been missing since Thursday October 20, 2005. Beside them four of the supporting staff (porter) survived the fatal accident. Three of them were rescued on Sunday October 23 by the helicopter that took our first rescue team.
After we have been informed by the French Embassy about the accident on Friday October 21 HRA immediately coordinated 'Search and Rescue' work. On Saturday October 22rd due to bad weather condition and unavailability of helicopters in Kathmandu in time we could not send the rescue team. On Sunday October 23 we sent a rescue team of 7 members in the leadership of Mr. Padam Ghale. On Monday October 24 we sent 2nd rescue team of 11 members. The helicopter dropped them at Meta which is about 2 and half hour walk to the accident place. The weather and ground condition was not favorable for rescue and search work. The team leader called from the base camp on Monday October 24 and informed that there is a very slim chance of any survival. Despite the adverse weather and ground condition rescue and search work continued. On Tuesday October 25 a body of a French climber was found. He has been identified as Mr. Bruno Chardin. His body has been brought to Kathmandu today. All the members of the rescue team except 2 members returned back to Kathmandu. We had taken 4 French and 3 representatives of the Nepalese support staffs to Meta to actually see the situation there. All of them returned back to Kathmandu.
The Rescue & Search team returned back to Kathmandu because it has been identified that all of them are buried in the deep gorge which can be anywhere between 50 to 100 meter deep. The leader of the 'Rescue & Search Team' reported that at the moment it is best to re-organize and coordinate with the related members of the expedition team and French Embassy.
Mr. Bikram Neupane, Chairman of HRA help to coordinate the rescue work actively. We have obtained very good cooperation and support from the French Embassy, Royal Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Ministry of Tourism, NMA, Churen Himal Trek (concerned trekking Agency) and, many other individual and organizations. Without the support of all of them an urgent need of such a rescue work could not have been accomplished.