A severe snowstorm and avalanche has killed at least 17 hikers in Nepal, and more than 100 others are missing, according to a CNN report. Twelve trekkers were buried near the top of the 17,769-foot Thorung La pass, the high point of the Annapurna Circuit, and five others were killed in avalanches related to the storm in the nearby Manang District.
Conditions in October are usually ideal for hiking in Nepal, but two days of heavy snow—attributed to Cyclone Hudhud, a Category 4 storm that made landfall on India’s east coast Sunday—created dangerous conditions.
This week’s deadly snowstorms add to a dark year in the Himalayas, following the avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas on Everest. While deadly accidents are somewhat common on the region’s highest peaks, it’s rare for trekkers to perish due to extreme weather at lower elevations.
Military helicopters have been dispatched from Katmandu to aid in the rescue, and at least 38 hikers have been rescued. Baburam Adhikari, a top government official in the Mustang region, said there was no way to know how many were still trapped.
“We do not know how many are missing,” he told CNN.