Five South Korean climbers and four Nepalese guides who went missing due to a heavy snowstorm on a mountain in Nepal were found dead near their base camp Saturday, the Korean Embassy in Nepal said.
Wangchu Sherpa, head of the Trekking Camp Nepal agency that provided local support to the South Korean team, said the camp had been destroyed, citing reports from the pilot of the rescue helicopter sent to look for the missing group on Saturday.
A fifth South Korean climber was initially reported missing, but officials later confirmed that he was at the camp when the deadly storm hit Friday and is believed to have also perished.
A rescue crew aboard a helicopter then spotted eight bodies as it circled the area from above, police said.
The climbers were attempting to scale the 23,590-foot peak during the autumn climbing season.
South Korea's foreign ministry said it is closely cooperating with the Nepalese government for the retrieval of the bodies. A police team was heading toward the base camp on foot and will likely reach there on Sunday, Budamagar said.
Local villagers have retrieved at least six of the bodies, police said.
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"Everything is gone, all the tents are blown apart", Gurung told AFP.
Despite not being as high as other Himalayan mountains in Nepal, Mount Gurja has seen only a fraction of the climbers of the world's highest peak, Mount Everest.
A sixth South Korean climber was staying at a village lower in the valley when the storm hit, after being forced to a lower altitude by health problems.
Mount Gurja, which is not among the popular mountains in Nepal, lies near the 8,167-metre Dhaulagiri, the world's seventh highest peak.
Kim Chang-ho, who climbed the 14 highest mountains in the world in the fastest time in 2013, was one of the climbers who died.
The tragedy was one the deadliest mountaineering accidents to hit the Himalayan nation in the past few years.