Nepal Annapurna: Search ends for surviving trekkers

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Media captionNepal survivor UK policeman Paul Sherridan believed it was 'not my day to die'

Rescue teams in Nepal say that there are now no trekkers left stranded after completing their search for survivors of a devastating Himalayan storm.

The focus now is on recovering bodies buried in the snow, a government spokesman told the BBC.

It is unclear how many people may still be missing in the country's worst-ever trekking disaster.

At least 39 people are known to have died, and nearly 400 people have been rescued from the Annapurna trail.

It is the fifth day that Nepalese army and private helicopters have been searching the trail.

Officials say the rescue effort grew harder on Sunday because of worsening weather.

Image copyright EPA
Image caption Many survivors are severely frostbitten
Image copyright EPA
Image caption At the height of the storm, climbers endured an almost complete white-out

The BBC's Andrew North in Kathmandu says that in addition to finding bodies, the authorities are eager to improve the flow of information on those caught up in the disaster.

There are currently three different lists of the dead and survivors, being run by the army, the home ministry and Nepal's trekking association, and some people may have been counted twice. The authorities say they now want to create a single list.

Nepalese, Japanese, Israeli, Canadian, Indian, Slovak, Vietnamese and Polish trekkers are said to be among the dead.

Many survivors have been left with severe frostbite and will have to have limbs amputated.

A trekking expert told the BBC that the storm, which struck on Wednesday, was the worst in a decade, and saw up to 1.8m (5.9ft) of snowfall in 12 hours.

What is the Annapurna Circuit?

  • Roughly 241km (150 miles), takes around three weeks to complete
  • Described as "the best long distance trek in the world"
  • Known as the "apple pie" circuit due to the baked goods offered by tea houses along the route
  • Ascends to 5,416m (17,776ft) at the Thorung La Pass
  • Opened to tourists in 1977 after conflicts between guerrillas and the Nepalese army were resolved
  • Circuit passes Mount Annapurna, world's 10th highest mountain and one of the most dangerous

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