New Delhi(PTI): An Indian army expedition team has rescued over 61 climbers from Mount Everest while it retrieved 19 bodies after the devastating earthquake struck Nepal on Saturday.
Everest Base Camp : This photo provided by Azim Afif shows the scene after an avalanche triggered by a massive earthquake swept across Everest Base Camp, Nepal on Saturday, April 25, 2015. Afif and his team of four others from the Universiti Teknologi Malaysia (UTM) all survived the avalanche. PTI
The Army team was training at Base Camp when the earthquake struck. Their equipment was buried in the avalanche. However, the team was safe and helped in rescue efforts. "19 dead bodies were retrieved and 61 injured persons were rescued by the Indian Army Expedition Team. The Medical Officer has treated a number of injured international mountaineers in addition to the 61 listed above and considerable medicines and rations have been distributed from own resources," an Army statement said.
As part of the government's overall relief effort for Nepal, Army has launched Operation 'Maitri'. Soon after the earthquake, Army chief Gen Dalbir Singh, who besides being an officer of the Gurkha Rifles Regiment is also the Honorary Chief of the Nepalese Army, spoke to his counterpart, General SJB Rana in Kathmandu.
Singh immediately detailed two senior officers to proceed to Kathmandu and coordinate Indian Army's relief efforts in synergy with Nepalese Army. They are presently carrying out reconnaissance of affected areas and road conditions, the statement said. According to the Army, 18 medical teams have been earmarked. While six teams have been deployed, the rest are on standby. Ten Engineer Task Forces(ETFs) consisting of manpower, skid steers and JCBs have also being sent to Nepal.
The Army has also kept 10,000 blankets and 1,000 tents on standby even as 10 INMARSATs for satellite communications have reached Nepal. Five Advanced Light Helicopters and two Cheetah helicopters have been staged forward to Gorakhpur. Further, taking cognizance of the request of the Nepalese government due to problems in the Kathmandu Oxygen plant, about 300 additional cylinders are being dispatched.