NEW DELHI, April 28 (IANS): All Indian mountaineers, who were trapped at Everest Camp I and II following avalanches triggered by the massive Nepal earthquake last week-end, have been safely brought down to the Base Camp, according to an official.
"Mountaineers, Indians and some foreigners, have been safely brought down to Base Camp from Camp I and II with the help of helicopters. I know two of their names - Ratnesh, who is a civilian, and C.M. Praveen, who is from Karnataka," Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) secretary Wing Commander H.K. Kutty (Retd) told IANS on Tuesday.
Between 30 to 40 Indians were trapped on Saturday at Camp I (19,500 ft) and II (21,000 ft) and were cut-off from the Base Camp (17,500 ft) following the avalanches. To add to their problems, plans of air rescue operations took a hit due to inclement weather and high altitudes.
Three teams from India, accredited to the IMF and attempting to climb the world's highest peak, were trapped on the Everest slopes following the avalanches. Several other teams, which were making their respective attempts in individual capacity, were also affected.
Among the three known teams, one represents the Indian Army while the other two are from the IMF and the Guwahati-based Assam Mountaineering Association (AMA). The five-member IMF team has safely reached Kathmandu and will remain there till a decision on the expedition is taken by the government of Nepal.
"The IMF team which comprises of All India Services officers has safely reached Kathmandu. I do not have much information about the other teams. I cannot tell you more as the information we are receiving is patchy," Kutty added.
Meanwhile, no time frame has been fixed for their return home.
"The army and the AMA teams have also been safely evacuated and brought down and they are either at Base Camp or at Gorakshep (16,942 ft)," IMF president Col. H.S. Chauhan (Retd) told IANS.
Gorakshep, roughly 90-minute trek from the Base Camp (17,500 ft) is the final acclimatisation halt on most common treks to the Everest Base Camp and is used for pitching tents.