Search resumes for 4 S. Koreans missing in Himalayas

This photo provided by Mountain Korea, a South Korean monthly, captures trapped South Korean and Chinese trekkers being rescued by a helicopter near the base camp of Machapuchare, a mountain in Annapurna north of Nepal, on Jan. 18, 2020. (Yonhap). Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KATHMANDU/SEOUL, Jan 20, 2020, Yonhap. Search operations resumed Monday for four South Koreans missing in the Himalayas, officials said, amid projections that the search could take at least a few weeks due to bad weather conditions, Yonhap reported.

The school teachers from South Korea’s central province of South Chungcheong remain unaccounted for after an avalanche while they were trekking at the popular Annapurna Base Camp northwest of Nepal on Friday. Three Nepali guides are also missing.

Heavy snowfall and rain have been hampering the rescue efforts. Fresh avalanches that occurred at the scene on Sunday forced officials to suspend the search operations.

Nepali authorities resumed the ground and air searches at around 8 a.m. Monday (Nepal time), mobilizing additional military rescue personnel to the scene, according to officials.

A helicopter carrying the military rescue workers, local police and South Korea’s quick response team left the airport in Pokhara, a city near Mount Annapurna, and is attempting to land at the site of the accident, they said.

Some family members of the missing trekkers boarded another helicopter to see the site of the accident.

An official from Nepal’s tourism ministry said Sunday the search could take 20 days as the weather needs to clear for the authorities to start looking for the missing tourists, Reuters reported.

It quoted one of the rescuers as saying that the operations could take even longer because they need to wait for the snow to melt.

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