A Canadian woman from Quebec describes how she survived the Nepal avalanche that killed at least 27 people. She describes what it was like as she was buried waist-high in thick, heavy snow on a “nightmare” of a day as she was separated from the majority of her trekking group.
The National Post reports that Sonia Leveque was on a once-in-a-lifetime trek in the Himalayan Mountains when a deadly avalanche killed 27 people. Leveque said she thought she was going to die and that she and her fellow trekkers are fortunate to be alive. “We fought for survival and we were lucky,” she said in an interview from Nepal with RDI, Radio-Canada’s all-news network.
“I think nobody in the group wanted to die.”
She said Tuesday was a “nightmare” and that nobody in her small group saw the avalanche coming. She notes how quickly the avalanche actually happened.
“It happened extremely quickly — within seconds, we were separated. Three people in our group were swept away [and] we tried to find them but there was about 20 metres of snow accumulated at the bottom of the avalanche.”
Leveque said she and her fellow trekkers remained shaken up on Thursday but will stay in Kathmandu for at least a few days to see how the rest of the rescue operation unfolds. Currently, 27 have been confirmed dead but approximately 70 people are still missing. Leveque says that one of the men in her group lost his wife in the tragedy and it was important to stay with him to give him support.
Multiple avalanches have been reported after exceptionally heavy snowfall. One avalanche struck in the middle of the night around 4am when trekkers were sleeping in tents. One man said his niece was asleep in her tent with other trekkers at the time of the avalanche.
“What I know is that it happened at around four o’clock in the morning. She was sleeping, [and] bang! it hit and passed over them and they were carried down along with the avalanche. It happened just like that.”
Fox News reports that one group of trekkers survived by taking refuge inside of a tea shop. Two trekkers from Hong Kong and 12 Israelis were airlifted Wednesday to Katmandu where they were being treated at a hospital. They said they survived by taking refuge in a small tea shop along the path. Linor Kajan, an injured Israeli, discussed the tragedy.
“I was sure I was going to die on the way to the pass because I lost my group, I lost all the people I was with and I could not see anything. One Nepalese guide who knows the way saw me and asked me to stay with him. And he dragged me, really dragged me to the tea shop. And everybody there was really frightened.”
Ganga Sagar Pant of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal said the death toll in the area was expected to rise as the bodies of the missing are recovered.