KATHMANDU - An avalanche triggered by a deadly earthquake in Nepal on Saturday buried a part of the base camp for climbers bound for Mount Everest, killing at least eight people, Nepal's tourism ministry said.
"The toll could go up, it may include foreigners as well as sherpas," tourism official Gyanendra Shrestha said.
Climbers caught in earthquake on Everest: AFP reporter
MOUNT EVEREST, Nepal - Climbers on Mount Everest were caught in a deadly earthquake that struck Nepal on Saturday, an AFP reporter at the mountain said, with reports of a major avalanche hitting the world's highest peak.
AFP Nepal bureau chief Ammu Kannampilly said she was caught in the earthquake that ripped though large parts of the country leaving more than 100 people dead.
"We got caught in an earthquake on Everest. We are both ok...snowing here so no choppers coming," an AFP reporter said in an SMS on approach to base camp while on assignment.
Two experienced mountaineers reported that panic erupted at base camp which was full of climbing teams and had been "severely damaged", while one said the quake triggered a "huge avalanche".
"Running for life from my tent. Unhurt. Many many people up the mountain," tweeted Romanian climber Alex Gavan who had been preparing to climb up nearby Lhotse, the world's fourth highest mountain.
Another climber Daniel Mazur said his team was trapped at camp one higher up the mountain in the wake of the earthquake.
"A Massive earthquake just hit Everest. Basecamp has been severely damaged. Our team is caught in camp 1. Please pray for everyone," he also tweeted.
Everest was hit by an avalanche last year that killed 16 guides and triggered an unprecedented shut-down of the mountain.
Some 700 climbers are in Solukhumbhu district that includes Everest, with 300 thought to be at base camp itself, deputy superintendent of police Chandra Dev Rai said.
"We are trying to reach them to see if they are safe, but the phones are not working," he told AFP from Solukhumbhu town through which climbers pass en route to the mountain.