A South Korean expedition has suffered a fatal tragedy at the base camp of Mount Gurja in Nepal. Rescue workers have described a hellish scene, saying: "Everything is gone."
Eight climbers from a South Korean expedition to climb Mount Gurja in Nepal have died and one remains missing, officials said on Saturday.
Nepalese authorities said a storm had struck the group of climbers at the base camp of Mount Gurja, a 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) mountain in the Annapurna region.
"We assume the incident happened because of a snowstorm because trees are broken and the tents. Even the dead bodies are scattered," Nepali police spokesman Sailesh Thapa told Agence France-Presse (AFP).
Wangchu Sherpa, who heads the Trekking Camp Nepal agency, which organized the expedition, said the rescue operation will continue on Sunday due to poor weather conditions at the base camp.
"Everything is gone, all the tents are blown apart. The conditions were too icy to continue the search," rescue pilot Siddartha Gurung told AFP.
Sherpa added that an alarm was raised after 24 hours elapsed without contact from the group.
The expedition had camped out at the base of the mountain waiting for a break in the weather to make the climb. The group included renowned climber Kim Chang-ho, the first South Korean to scale 14 of the world's highest mountains without an oxygen tank.
Despite not being as high as other Himalayan mountains in Nepal, Mount Gurja has seen only a fraction of the climbers of the world's highest peak, Mount Everest.
The peak was first reached by a Japanese expedition in 1969. Since then, only 30 climbers have made it to the summit. According to the Himalayan Database, no one has successfully climbed it in more than 20 years.
Nepal is home to eight of the world's 14 highest mountains, making it a major attraction for ambitious climbers. Climbing tourism is a major source of revenue for the country.
The Himalayas are a massive mountain range home to the world's tallest mountains, stretching across Nepal, India, China, Pakistan and Bhutan.