Tibet avalanche claims 4

Updated: 2013-10-17 00:43

By hou liqiang in Beijing and wang huazhong in Tibet (China Daily)

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Four people, including an Australian tourist, were killed and another foreign tour group remains missing after an unexpected snowstorm hit parts of southwestern Xigaze prefecture, Tibet autonomous region.

Three local porters were killed by an avalanche on Sunday, and a 60-year-old Australian man died from altitude stress after he was rescued. They were part of a tour group of 10 people — four Australians and six Tibetans.

Tibet avalanche claims 4

Tourists eat hot noodles in a safe camp on Tuesday in Tibet. They are some of 154 tourists who were rescued after being trapped on Mount Qomolangma on Monday due to a snowstorm. One tour group remains missing. [Jia Cuo / Xinhua]

The Australian man's body will be transported out of China through Zhangmu Port at the request of his relatives. The other three stranded Australians are scheduled to leave China through the Zhangmu Port on Wednesday.

Another tour group that left Qudang township for the eastern part of Mount Qomolangma on Oct 11 became stranded in a camping ground 30 kilometers from the township and remains missing.

The group couldn't be reached because there is no communication signal.

Attempts to rescue the group have been stalled by the heavy snow, which is as deep as 1 meter in some places.

Three drivers who took the tour group to the foot of the mountain told local officials that the group is experienced in the outdoors, and has a sufficient amount of equipment and food.

The group should be safe as long as there are no more avalanches, the drivers said.

The snowstorm in the region has kept rescuers busy. On Monday, they evacuated 86 tourists, including 13 foreigners, from a base camp on Mount Qomolangma and a nearby monastery where they had been trapped by the heavy snow.

Rescuers also found another 68 people stranded on their way to free the 86 tourists.

The 154 people, including 32 foreigners and two Hong Kong residents, are in good condition and have begun returning home.

Contact the writers at houliqiang@chinadaily.com.cn and wanghuazhong@chinadaily.com.cn