Nepal: trekkers and guides killed in freak avalanches

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Nepal: trekkers and guides killed in freak avalanches

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Several avalanches in central Nepal have killed at least 26 people.

The confirmed dead are mainly trekkers, guides and local farmers and include eight foreigners.

Rescue officials say the toll could rise because dozens more people were out of contact due to poor communication links.

Unseasonal blizzards and lashing rain brought on by cyclone Hudhud triggered avalanches mainly near Annapurna, and the district of Mustang.

A helicopter pilot is said to have spotted more bodies in the snow but heavy snowfalls are making it impossible to retrieve them.

The hikers’ deaths come during the peak trekking season in Nepal, home to eight of the world’s 14 highest mountains including Everest.

Nepal’s tourism industry is still recovering from the aftershocks of an ice avalanche that struck the lower reaches of Mount Everest in April, killing 16 sherpa guides.