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Nepal Blizzard Kills More Than 20, Leaves Others Stranded

A surprise blizzard in northern Nepal has killed at least 20 and stranded many more, leaving the Nepalese army scrambling in rescue efforts.

Nepal Blizzard Kills More Than 20, Leaves Others Stranded
andrew_annemarie / CC BY SA 2.0
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More than 20 mountain trekkers are dead and many more missing after a combination of blizzards and avalanches pounded Nepal on Wednesday. 

The general secretary of the Himalayan Rescue Association told The Wall Street Journal more than 100 tourists were attempting to cross the almost 18,000-foot-high Thorong La pass in northern Nepal when heavy snow began accumulating Tuesday.

As this footage from IndiaTV shows, the Nepalese military has sent at least one helicopter to aid search-and-rescue efforts for the remaining hikers. 

Among the dead are reportedly nine Nepalese, four Canadians, three Polish, three Israelis, one Indian and one Vietnamese tourist.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper expressed his condolences on Twitter for the four lost Canadians. 

Noting the out-of-season occurrence of this blizzard, an NPR correspondent in New Delhi says the deadly weather is apparently linked to cyclone Hudhud, which hit India's eastern coast earlier this week.

This week's tragedy, compounded by April's Mount Everest avalanche which killed 16 Sherpa guides, will most likely have an adverse effect on Nepal's tourism industry. 

The Himalayan Times reports that so far 67 trekkers have been rescued. 

This video includes an image from Getty Images and images from andrew_annemarie / CC BY SA 2.0.