Three Israeli backpackers were killed in an avalanche on a mountain pass in northern Nepal, along with 13 other people, local media reported on Wednesday.
“There has been heavy snowfall in the area, up to three feet (91 centimeters),” local police official Ganesh Rai told AFP.
Local police initially uncovered the bodies of an Israeli, two Polish tourists, and a Nepalese guide. Hours later, they retrieved 12 more bodies — including two other Israeli tourists, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported.
Officials rescued 13 trekkers — including four Israelis — stranded in the storm after the weather cleared on Wednesday, but more than 100 other foreign tourists remain out of contact in Mustang district, Rai said.
He said a total of 168 tourists had registered to trek in Mustang along the highly-popular Annapurna circuit this week, of whom 152 were out of contact.
Mustang district official Baburam Bhandari said “the phone network is not very good so we have not been able to get in touch with the missing, but we hope to find them later today.”
Thousands of trekkers visit the Annapurna region every October, when weather conditions are deemed favorable for hiking trips. However, Mustang has seen unusually heavy snowfall this week as a result of Cyclone Hudhud, which struck neighboring India’s eastern coast at the weekend.
Last week, two Israeli tourists were killed in a rafting accident in Peru.