London, Sep 26: China’s response to a series of protests in Tibet this year, including restricting access to the Tibetan Himalayas, might have led to a high number of casualties in the mountaineering disaster that took place last weekend, expedition organisers have said.
China had reportedly rejected ‘climbing permits’ for mountaineers wanting to climb the Tibetan Himalayas, implying that more people than the usual number attempted to ascend the mountain range in Nepal.
In the disaster that took place, about 25 climbers were swept off by debris and large fragments of rocks from a falling ice cliff last Sunday, while they were preparing to leave their tents from a camp on the mountain of Manaslu, the world’s eight highest peak, The Guardian reports.
According to the paper, rescuers have so far brought down eight bodies, in which, four were French, and one each from Germany, Italy and Spain, and a Nepali guide. Only ten were successfully evacuated.
However, with several other climbers missing, the death toll is expected to rise further, making the disaster one of the worst in recent mountaineering history.
Though veteran climbers and experts say the numbers of climbers attempting an ascent of the mountain did not cause the disaster, many more mountaineers than usual were present on the mountain after Chinese authorities cut down on permits for mountaineers hoping to climb in Tibet, the paper said.
Local journalists also reported that there were around 250 climbers on the mountain when disaster struck, almost flattening a camp at an altitude of 7,000 meters. Most were at base camp and out of danger, it added. (ANI)