3 Israeli Hikers Among 16 Dead in Nepal Avalanche

Death toll keeps rising after avalanche on Thorong La pass, near tenth tallest mountain in the world.

Eliran Aharon, Ari Yashar , | updated: 13:18

Rescue helicopter (illustration)
Rescue helicopter (illustration)

At least 16 hikers were killed in an avalanche in Nepal on Tuesday, in a natural disaster that claimed the life of three Israeli tourists along with three Polish tourists, a Vietnamese and nine Nepalese guides.

The avalanche occurred on the Thorong La mountain pass, located roughly 160 kilometers (100 miles) northwest of the capital city of Katmandu, Nepalese army official Niranjan Shrestha told Associated Press.

The heavy snow prevented army rescuers from reaching the site until Wednesday, when the weather cleared up and the bodies of the unfortunate hikers were found.

Fourteen tourists, including four Israelis, were reportedly rescued from the area, although roughly 100 others are said to remain stranded, with all the figures still in flux and uncertain due to the lack of communication from the remote region.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement saying "information has been received, according to which Israelis may be involved in the incident, and that is being checked."

The Thorong La pass is on a route encircling Mount Annapurna, which at 8,091 meters (26,545 feet) is the world's tenth highest mountain. There are many hikers in the area given that October is the most popular trekking season in Nepal.

This is not the first lethal accident in the area, as just this April an avalanche above the Mount Everest base camp killed 16 Nepalese guides, in the deadliest disaster on the world's tallest mountain.

Israeli tourists have not been faring well recently; just before the recent incident in Nepal, two Israeli tourists drowned in Peru during a rafting accident on the Apurimac River this month.