Nepalese rescuers said that they would call off a search for three climbers missing since a deadly avalanche at the weekend on Thursday, as police admitted they initially miscalculated the death toll.
Two French mountaineers and a Canadian, Quebec cardiologist Dominique Ouimet, remain unaccounted for after their group was hit by a wall of snow near the Himalayan peak of the 8,156-metre Manaslu in the early hours of Sunday.
In the confusion of the aftermath police initially said nine people had been killed, but on Wednesday revised the figure to eight, saying four French, a Spaniard, a German, an Italian and a Nepali guide had died.
“We have continued the search operation today but haven’t found any of (the missing). We will continue until tomorrow but there’s very slim possibility of finding them,” district police chief Basanta Bahadur Kunwar told AFP.
Experts say climbers buried in an avalanche typically have 20 minutes to be dug out before they die from hypothermia or asphyxiation.
Police also fear the missing could have been swept into a crevasse, meaning their bodies might never be recovered.
Chief Kunwar said a team of five high-altitude sherpas were using snow shovels, ice axes and bamboo sticks in their search for the missing.