KATHMANDU, Nepal (AP) — The Latest on mountaineering deaths in Nepal (all times local):
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, an amateur hiking enthusiast who visited Nepal in 2016, has expressed condolences for the climbers who died in a storm on a Nepal mountain.
Five South Koreans and four Nepalese guides died Friday when a storm swept their base camp on Gurja Himal mountain, and their bodies were retrieved Sunday.
Moon said the victims displayed a “great spirit that’s about respecting nature while simultaneously trying to overcome it.”
His message was posted on Facebook on Sunday during his visit to France.
Moon continued, “a snow storm has taken the nine climbers into the mountains forever, but their bravery and fighting spirit to break out a new route can never be buried.”
A South Korean climbing group says the bodies of five Koreans who died in a storm on a Nepal mountain will be returned to their home country on Wednesday.
An official from the Corean Alpine Club said famed mountaineer Kim Chang-ho was leading a veteran climbing team that was on Gurja Himal mountain when they died Friday. Kim was well-known as the first South Korean to climb the world’s 14 highest mountains.
The CAC official, who didn’t want to be named because she wasn’t authorized to speak to reporters, identified the other South Koreans as Yu Yeong-jik, Im Il-jin, Jeong Jun-mo and Lee Jae-hoon. Four Nepalese guides also died when the storm swept over base camp on Gurja Himal on Friday.
Yu was reportedly in charge of the team’s climbing equipment, and Im was a filmmaker who had specialized in documentaries on mountain climbers. Yonhap news agency reported senior CAC member Jeong wasn’t part of Kim’s climbing team but was visiting the others at their camp.
The CAC official said a Korean Air flight carrying the remains will return to Seoul early Wednesday.
Associated Press writer Kim Tong-hyung in Seoul, South Korea, contributed to this report.
The nine climbers who died during a storm on a Nepal mountain included Kim Chang-ho, who was the first South Korean to summit all 14 Himalayan peaks over 8,000 meters without using supplemental oxygen.
Seoul’s Foreign Ministry confirmed his identity Monday but has not yet disclosed the names of the four other South Koreans who died in the weekend storm.
Four Nepalese guides also were killed when a storm swept their base camp on Gurja Himal mountain Friday.
Kim achieved his feat in 2013.
The South Korean ministry told reporters the storm blew the victims from their base camp off a steep cliff. Rescue helicopters were not able to land but spotted the bodies, which were retrieved Sunday.
Rescuers have retrieved the bodies of five South Korean climbers and their four Nepalese guides from Gurja Himal mountain, where they were killed when their base camp was swept by a strong storm.
Two helicopters brought the bodies to Kathmandu, Nepal’s capital, on Sunday from the mountain after the weather cleared up.
The bodies are being kept at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital morgue, where doctors will conduct autopsies before the bodies are handed over to family members.
The storm swept the camp on Friday night, and news of the destruction reached on Saturday morning. Rescuers reached the base camp Saturday evening.
The climbers were attempting to scale the 7,193-meter (23,590-foot) peak during the autumn climbing season.
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