Four dead as avalanche hits tour group in Tibet

BEIJING (AFP) - Four people died after an avalanche hit a foreign tour group camping on the slopes of Mount Everest, the world's highest peak, Chinese state media reported on Wednesday.

One of the dead was an Australian citizen and the other three were local porters, said the report on chinatibetnews.com, which cited the Dingri county government.

China's official Xinhua news agency quoted sources within the local government saying the group "entered a restricted area on the mountain without permission".

It was made up of four Australians, including the 60-year-old fatality, and six locals, it said.

Other members of the tour were rescued by emergency personnel, chinatibetnews said.

Separately, over recent days rescuers evacuated 154 tourists including 32 foreigners stranded by snowstorms in other locations near the mountain, it added.

Mount Everest is known in China as Qomolangma - mother goddess of the snows in Tibetan.

More than 300 people have died on Everest since it was first conquered by Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay in 1953.