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Success in avalanche rescue, but more feared dead

Five climbers caught in an avalanche in Nepal have been rescued, but the search continues for more members of the expedition. The avalanche on Mount Manaslu has already claimed at least 11 lives.

epa03407388 People gathered at the base camp of 8,156 meter hight Mount Manasalu after an avalanche struck killing more than seven people in Gorkha village, Kathmandu, Nepal, 23 September 2012. Reports state that seven bodies have been recovered and five others are missing in the avalanche at camp three on the 8,156 meter high Mount Manaslu. EPA/SIMRIK AIR / HANDOUT HAND OUT/ SIMRIK AIR HANDOUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY/NO SALES

Berg Manaslu in Nepal - mindestens neun Bergsteiger durch eine Lawine umgekommen

Rescue workers reported Monday that they were able to find the five survivors during a helicopter rescue operation. Further searches with the helicopter had been called off for Monday, but Nepalese Sherpas - an ethnic group in the Himalayas - continued to look for survivors and bodies on the ground.

Sunday's avalanche caught a group of climbers while they were sleeping at a base camp at around 7,000 meters (23,000 feet). Eleven people were killed during the avalanche.

There are conflicting reports regarding the nationalities of those killed, but at least one victim appears to be German. Among the other victims are four French citizens, two Spaniards, a Sherpa and an Italian. The nationalities of the remaining two climbers killed remain unknown.

Andreas Reiter, a 26-year-old from Germany who survived the avalanche, has been quoted as telling the Himalayan Times from his hospital bed that he "witnessed one of the team members die."

"We were sleeping in our tent after having dinner," Reiter told the paper, "when all of a sudden we heard the noise of other climbers screaming. Within moments, we were hit by the avalanche."

Three more climbers remain unaccounted for on the mountain - two French climbers and a Canadian - but their chances of survival are feared to be slim. Mount Manaslu, which stands at 8,156 meters and is the eighth highest peak in the world, is known to be particularly dangerous.

mz/sej (AFP, dpa, SID)