South Koreans among seven missing in Himalayan avalanche

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An avalanche in Nepal’s Annapurna region has left at least seven people missing, including four South Koreans and three Nepalis, officials said Saturday. The incident occurred at an altitude of around 3,230 metres (10,597 feet) close to the base camp for Annapurna, one of the highest peaks in the Himalayas, following heavy snowfall on Friday. “We are getting reports that four South Koreans and three Nepalis are out of contact after the incident. A rescue team was dispatched last night,” Mira Dhakal of Nepal’s tourism department told AFP. Local police chief Dan Bahadur Karki said poor weather was hampering rescue efforts. “The team is on its way. We also have a helicopter on standby to take off if the weather improves,” Karki said. Annapurna is an avalanche-prone and technically difficult mountain and has a higher death rate than Everest, the world’s highest peak. Education officials in South Korea said the four were part of a team of volunteer teachers working with children in Nepal. South Korea’s foreign ministry said in a statement that an emergency team would be sent to Nepal and that the families of those missing had been informed. Thousands of trekkers visit the Annapurna region every year for its stunning views of the Himalayas.