300 tourists stranded near Everest due to bad weather

The weather conditions at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, near Everest, worsened on Sept 13, which forced airlines to cancel their flights, said Rohit Karna, the airport's air traffic controller.
The weather conditions at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, near Everest, worsened on Sept 13, which forced airlines to cancel their flights, said Rohit Karna, the airport's air traffic controller.PHOTO: REUTERS

KATHMANDU (DPA) - About 300 tourists, most of them foreigners, have been trapped by bad weather in a small town near Mount Everest for the past five days, officials said on Tuesday (Sept 17).

The weather conditions at Tenzing-Hillary Airport in Lukla, near Everest, worsened last Friday, which forced airlines to cancel their flights, said Rohit Karna, the airport's air traffic controller.

"Only five flights were operated on Saturday. There are attempts to airlift passengers in helicopters, but the weather is not favourable even for that," he told dpa.

Lukla, a gateway to the Everest region, sits at an altitude of 2,800m. It is the starting point for hikers who go on a week-long trek to Everest base camp.

Pabitra Karki, chairman of the Airlines Operators Association, said four helicopters carrying passengers from the region to Kathmandu were forced to land in areas near Kathmandu due to bad weather.

Thousands of foreign trekkers visit the Himalayan nation in autumn, from September to November, and spring, from April to May.