Nepal storm kills several climbers in Himalayas

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At least eight climbers died when a violent snowstorm destroyed their camp on a Himalayan peak in western Nepal.

Officials said it was unlikely the bad weather would clear on Saturday and the base camp is at least a one-day trek from the nearest village.

"A mountain expedition of five South Korean nationals and four foreigners were swept off by strong winds at the base camp during their climb to Mount Gurja. Even the dead bodies are scattered", police spokesman Sailesh Thapa told AFP.

Wangchu Sherpa, head of the Trekking Camp Nepal agency that provided local support to the South Korean team, said the camp had been devastated, citing the pilot of a rescue helicopter that was sent to look for the missing group on Saturday morning.

The group of South Korean climbers and their Nepali guides had been camped at the foot of 7,193 metre Mount Gurja since early October, waiting for a window of good weather so they could attempt to reach the summit.

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Kim is believed to be among the dead, officials said.

Mount Gurja, also called Gurja Himal, while not famous as one of Nepal's most challenging peaks, is part of the Dhaulagiri range, which is topped by Dhaulagiri I, the seventh-highest mountain in the world.

Dakal said they were still struggling to confirm if the fifth South Korean had reached the base camp when the powerful storm tore through the area yesterday.

Thousands of climbers flock to Nepal each year - home to eight of the world's 14 highest peaks - creating a lucrative mountain tourism industry that is a vital source of cash for the impoverished country.

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