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Man who survived Mount Everest's deadliest avalanche describes what it was like
Featured Image Credit: VICE Asia/YouTube

Man who survived Mount Everest's deadliest avalanche describes what it was like

"I've never seen so many dead bodies in one place"

A man who survived a deadly avalanche on Mount Everest has revealed the true horror of when it hit and how he managed to escape with his life.

Seasoned explorer and climber Mingma G was at Everest Base Camp leading a team of 23 climbers, 25 Sherpas and 10 supporting staff when the avalanche hit on 25 April, 2015.

It claimed the lives of 19 people and stranded hundreds more within minutes, leaving devastation in its wake.

The avalanche was triggered by one of the worst earthquakes in the region for nearly 81 years.

The devastating 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal 250km away from the mountain, and killed nearly 9,000 people and injured more than 22,000. Despite the distance from Everest, it had a devastating effect that saw an avalanche of snow and ice sweep through Everest Base Camp, killing and injuring climbers.

The avalanche was caused by an earthquake and Everest climbers had no time to escape.
VICE Asia/Mingma G

Mingma G has since described the terrifying moment the wall of snow and ice hit Everest Base Camp.

Describing the moment the avalanche hit, the experienced climber said to VICE Asia: "And at once, there was a sound, boom! After that, an avalanche came and most of the camps collapsed.

"Then I saw the first dead body in my camp. It was one of my Sherpa."

He added: "Then I started searching and searching all the people. Then I saw one of my clients, hit by poles and it cut out his eyeball and it was hanging. And I knew we couldn't save him."

Forced to leave some of his clients and climbing companions was a choice Mingma was forced to do. However, some he found harder to leave on the mountain and in the snow.

He explained: "I had one client, I stayed with him for an hour to let him die. We were emotionally connected.

"For others he was just one person who was about to die so they worked towards saving the remaining ten. For me, he was more important than the others.

He continued: "Out of the 18 people who died, I carried bodies of 15 of them. We shifted dead bodies from one place to another like they were tent poles. I get chills when I even think of that day because I've never been through anything like that."

Out of the 19 people who died from the avalanche, six were from Mingma's team.

Mingma explained the conditions on Everest that day: "The worst thing on that day was the cloud and the weather. Almost no visibility. No chance to fly a helicopter. When the earthquake happened there was no telephone lines, even the satellite phone couldn't be used.

Climber Mingma G explained how he survived the deadly avalanche.
VICE Asia/Mingma G

"The next day we were hoping for a helicopter in the morning, around 6am. Next day was cloudy and it wasn't until 9 or 10am that the helicopter arrived."

He added: "The rescue took two days; the day of the earthquake and the next morning. We passed the first night however we could.

"Our plan was to fly everyone out the next day. That night, our internet was restored at Everest Base Camp and then the news started flowing in."

Mingma continued: 'The next day we found out that almost 9,000 people had lost their lives and the body count was increasing. I got really scared.

"As soon as I got hold of the internet, I called my family. I talked to my sisters and my relatives. They were all safe but I found out that they couldn't contact our village yet."

The lack of contact meant Mingma didn't know if his mother or other sisters were alive or dead. There was no time to panic though, as he still needed to support the rescue mission at the Everest Base Camp.

19 people who were climbing Everest were killed as a result of the avalanche.
VICE Asia/Mingma G

He explained: "I had to bring the five dead bodies from my team back to Kathmandu."

Upon reaching a hospital, Mingma could see the true devastation caused by the earthquake and subsequent avalanche: "The room was filled with dead bodies, and because it wasn't big enough, they had put the dead bodies out in the field as well.

"When I saw that, I felt like what happened in Everest was nothing."

The experience has had a lasting impact on Mingma, who continues to be a guide and mountaineer up Everest.

"I lifted so many corpses after the earthquake. That has made me stronger mentally. I felt like life was nothing," he shared.

"It's destiny, this life and death. That's why I'm not afraid while climbing."

Topics: World News, Travel