Updated 9:35 a.m.: One man with Colorado ties died, but four others survived the avalanche that swept over Mt. Everest basecamp on Saturday. So far 18 people in all have been confirmed dead in the disaster, which was triggered by an earthquake now blamed for more than 4,000 deaths in all.
Tom Taplin was a 61-year-old Denver-born filmmaker, camp doctor and Google engineer. Coloradan Matt Moniz, 17, and his climbing team, which includes Charley Mace from Golden, were not injured.
"[Veteran climber] Willie Benegas and I were walking through the center of camp when we experienced the ground shake violently, moments later we saw the first large slide off of Pumori. We started searching for shelter and fortunately found a boulder, we dove behind it just as the powder blast hit. It was an incredible force moving, at over 300 kilometers per hour. There were tents and sleeping bags flying through the air," Moniz told CPR News in an email.
— Chris Jose TV (@CJose) April 27, 2015
Two climbers from Fort Collins also survived. Jim Davidson was part of a group that had already moved up to another camp, and was not in the way of the avalanche when is crashed down the mountain. Alan Arnette was part of group headed for nearby Lhotse peak, the Coloradoan reported. Davidson has kept up a steady Twitter feed during the ordeal.
We're safe at camp 1. Apparent earthquake. We had avi nearby, powder blast & glacier moved. Injuries in basecamp. Sta http://t.co/GMYy5citdi
— Jim Davidson (@ClimberJim) April 25, 2015
Update: Jim is safe at Camp 1 & staying put while a plan is formulated. Please keep your thoughts and prayers with everyone. -SOA Team
— Jim Davidson (@ClimberJim) April 25, 2015
Just had our biggest aftershock yet here at C1 on Everest. Smaller than original quake but glacier shook & avalanches http://t.co/MzreeYwVlJ
— Jim Davidson (@ClimberJim) April 26, 2015
Weather good on Everest. Evacuation of C1 & C2 going well. I am safe in basecamp now ...the injuries, fatalities & tr http://t.co/2g7JdsV1mH
— Jim Davidson (@ClimberJim) April 27, 2015
Arnette, on his blog, writes: "Everyone is very tired, mentally spent. Sincere and deep condolences to everyone in Nepal impacted by this tragedy."
- Many have found personal items in flattened tents
- Many teams have left EBC and are in teahouse in Khumbu
- Some are back in Kathmandu via helicopter
- Almost all teams are preparing to leave EBC and stop south side attempts
- Some small teams will stay and make a decision in a few days
- Icefall Doctors have stopped maintaining the route due to safety, aftershock concerns – they may return – unkown
Via AP: An engineer who works on earthquake risks says the 7.8-magnitude temblor that struck on Saturday may not be the Big One for Nepal.
GeoHazards International's Hari Kumar says: "We were expecting an 8-magnitude to happen along the Himalayas, this is not it."
Kumar is the Southeast Asia regional coordinator for the non-profit group that works on assessing and managing quake risks worldwide.
Immense seismic pressure is still building up along the Nepal-India border, and he says, "The stress which was developing west of this earthquake has not been released."
— Sky News (@SkyNews) April 26, 2015
Lila Mani Poudyal, the government's chief secretary and the rescue coordinator, appealed for more help from the international community, saying Nepal was short of everything from paramedics to electricity.
Relief worker Brad Kerner of Save the Children told the AP that basic necessities are the immediate need in Nepal. He also says waterborne and infectious diseases are a risk because people are living outdoors in crowded, camp-like situations.
World Vision aid worker Matt Darvas reached Nepal's Gorkha district, the epicenter of Saturday's powerful quake, early Monday afternoon. He said almost no aid had reached there ahead of him. The American Red Cross has joined the effort as well. Locally, there's a Colorado-based indiegogo campaign, Help the Nepalese Earthquake Victims.
China has sent a medical team and a team of experts to move through structures destroyed in the quake and help with search and rescue operations. Chinese doctors have set up a field hospital at the mountain resort town of Dhulikhel, 30 kilometers (18 miles) east of Kathmandu. Doctors Without Borders is sending eight teams to provide medical aid and other relief.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. is also sending aid:
"We are working closely with the government of Nepal to provide assistance and support. Ambassador Bodde has issued a disaster declaration in order to immediately release an initial $1 million for humanitarian assistance," Kerry said. "USAID is preparing to deploy a Disaster Assistance Response Team and is activating an Urban Search and Rescue Team to accompany disaster experts and assist with assessments of the situation."