Wales

Nepal earthquake: Everest climber Mike Hopkins is safe

Mike Hopkins Image copyright Sarah Hopkins
Image caption Mike Hopkins was aiming to be the oldest Welsh person to climb to the summit of Mount Everest

A man aiming to be the oldest Welsh person to reach Mount Everest's summit has survived the Nepal earthquake while 23,000ft up the mountain.

Mike Hopkins, 56, from Cardiff, had reached Camp 1 when the 7.8-magnitude tremor struck, but he has contacted his wife to say he was safe.

More than 2,300 people died following Saturday's earthquake.

Jason Russell of Wrexham and ex-pat Huw Alexander Lashmar were unaccounted for on Sunday evening.

Rescue missions and aid material started arriving in Nepal following the earthquake, which was centred 60km (40 miles) east of the country's capital Kathmandu.

It caused avalanches around the base of Mount Everest, killing at least 17 people.

A team of six officers from South Wales Fire and Rescue Service and one from Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue Service have flown out to assist the rescue mission.

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Media captionSarah Hopkins said her husband is safe and well

Mr Hopkins contacted his wife Sarah after what she described as a "traumatic day" on Saturday.

"They felt the tremor and it shook everything but they're safe," said Mrs Hopkins, who lives in Whitchurch.

"He managed to call me on a sat phone for two minutes. He knew I would be distraught."

Mrs Hopkins said her husband was with with a group of nine other climbers and Sherpas on the north side of Everest.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The devastation at Base Camp after the avalanches

He told her they were all safe and had now returned to Base Camp at 17,000ft (5,180m).

Other injured climbers have now been airlifted out of Base Camp while aftershocks on Sunday have spread fear among those left in the area.

Meanwhile, at least two people from Wales have been reported missing following the earthquake - the worst to hit the country in more than 80 years.

Mr Russell, from Ruabon, had been registered as missing online along with Mr Lashmar, who is believed to have moved to Australia from Wales.

His son, Jamie Alexander Lashmar, 32, from Victoria, Australia, was also reported to be missing in Nepal.

Another Welshman, 60-year-old Raymond William, who had initially been reported as missing, later indicated online that he was safe in Australia.

Adrian Summers, another Welsh ex-pat who now lives in Sydney, was also reported to be safe after initial fears he was missing.

A number of websites have been set up to help find those in the disaster area, including ones by the Red Cross and Google.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption In parts of the country, trapped victims are being dug out of the rubble by hand due to a lack of equipment

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