Bodies of all S. Korean climbers recovered in Himalaya: Yonhap

Lim Chang-won Reporter Posted : 2018-10-15 08:21 Updated : 2018-10-15 08:21
글씨작게 글씨크게

[Yonhap News Photo ]

SEOUL/NEW DELHI -- The bodies of five South Korean climbers and four local guides have all been recovered, a day after they were found dead on a Himalayan mountain in Nepal, local embassy officials said.

"At around 10:30 a.m. (local time), three out of the nine bodies were retrieved and transported to a nearby village," a South Korean embassy official said. "The recovery work was completed at around 11:30 a.m. after the six remaining bodies were also transferred one by one."

Eight of the bodies were later airlifted to a hospital in Kathmandu via Pokhara. One body wasn't transferred to the Nepalese capital as the dead mountaineer was a resident of a town nearby Mt. Gurja. Mt. Gurja is located some 70 kilometers northwest of Pokhara, the second largest city in Nepal. Pokhara is 150 kilometers northwest of Kathmandu.

The nine people, including leader Kim Chang-ho, were found dead Saturday near their base camp located at an altitude of 3,500 meters on Mt. Gurja in western Nepal. A helicopter found their bodies but couldn't retrieve them on the spot because of its small size, bad weather conditions and tough terrain.

A bigger helicopter with four rescue crew on board left for the scene at around 7:15 a.m. It could not land at the site due to rough terrain, so the rescue crew had to repel down to retrieve the bodies, embassy officials said. Nepal authorities helped the recovery efforts by sending in a large chopper to provide necessary support.

Seoul's foreign ministry earlier said that it will dispatch its personnel to the area in a few days to provide help for their families' possible visit to the area and arrange the transport of the bodies to South Korea.

The nine are believed to have died after strong winds swept them down a steep slope. One body was found right near the base camp, and the other eight at the bottom of the valley. Kim, who led the expedition team, was a veteran climber who in 2013 became the first South Korean to summit all 14 Himalayan peaks over 8,000 meters without using supplemental oxygen. He also set various other world climbing records.

His team was comprised of six members, but one of them stayed at the foot of the 7,193-meter mountain due to health issues. As the other climbers did not return Friday, the remaining member sent a Nepalese guide to the base camp, who found the camp in tatters, embassy officials said.