A total of 12 people were crushed to death underneath a fearsome Mount Everest avalanche early this morning – including five members of an NBC crew who were preparing to shoot a scene on the mountain, according to a report.
According to the Daily Mail,
the guides – known as sherpas – were hired by the Network’s Peacock
Productions unit to help prepare for a live jump special slated to air
on the Discovery Channel next month.
Two of the dead Everest guides were hired
directly by NBC’s Everest Expedition crew while three others were part
of Adventurist Expeditions, a company brought on to help with the
‘It’s absolutely devastating,” surviving
crewmember Ed Wardle said. “The atmosphere here at base camp is one of
shock and now of grieving. I believe it’s the worst disaster in Everest
history if not all mountaineering.”
Four other guides are still missing.
Wingsuit jumper Joby Ogwyn was slated to make his leap in two weeks and is reportedly helping with search and rescue efforts.
“The Sherpa guides were carrying up equipment
and other necessities for climbers when the disaster happened,” a
spokesman for Nepal’s Tourism Ministry, Mohan Krishna Sapkota, told the
AFP news service.
Eight climbers perished in a massive 1996 avalanche and six guides died in a 1970 disaster.
“The avalanche last night on Mt. Everest is a
terrible tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with those who are
lost and with their families,” Discovery Network executive Laurie
Goldberg told The Mail.
Long considered one of the greatest mountain
climbing challenges, more than 4,000 adventurers have reached Everest’s
peak since Edmund Hillary first conquered it in 1953.