Friday, October 28, 2005

Update on Tragic French Expedition

Nepal Tourism Board
Press Release
October 27, 2005
High-level French team in Nepal for rescue operation
Tourists are not stranded in Manang
A press conference was organized today by French Embassy based in Kathmandu, Nepal to disseminate the factual information about French climbers swept down by avalanche that hit the base camp of a climbing expedition on Mount Kang Guru, 6981 m in Mid-western Nepal on October 20, 2005. French Ambassador Michel Jolivet expressing sorrow over the tragedy paid sincere condolence to the French and Nepali victims' families, to their friends and to the whole community of climbers. Addressing the press conference Mr. Serge Koening, mountain guide, and mountain advisors of
Mr. Jean-Francois Lamour, French Minister for Youth and Sports said that he was satisfied with the rescue operation carried by Nepalese rescue team. He informed that two experts specialized in post-avalanche search operation with two sniffler dogs trained for mountain rescue, and with special equipment will be arriving Kathmandu on October 28 to continue search operation after hiatus. The search operation has been halted for sometime due to snowfall and likelihood of avalanche. But it will resume within few days when weather gets clear. They have left three trained guides at Meta below base camp to monitor weather. A body of French climber was brought to Kathmandu by a helicopter on October 26, 2005, he said. However, identity is still unknown. Five experts from France accompanied the rescue operation conducted by Himalayan Rescue Association started from October 23 to 26. According to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, the members of French expedition who are presumed dead are Bernard Constantin, 65, Gregory Flematti, 35, Bruno M.J. Chardin, 54, Jean Francois Jube, 62, Jean Paul Minette, 51, Marie Odile Stolzenberg, 57, and the expedition leader, Daniel Stolzenberg, 60. Eleven-member Nepali climbers, cooks,
guides and porters who accompanied French Expedition are also believed to be perished in the avalanche.
Of the 22-person expedition team, four Nepalese porters staying outside the main tents survived the avalanche and were rescued by a helicopter. The French Expedition team started their trekking from Besisahar, the starting point of Annapurna Circuit on October 3, 2005. They reached Camp II on October 18 but got back to the base camp.
According to Churen Himal Treks and Expeditions, which handled the expedition, the French Expedition had planned to climb the Mount Kang Guru on October 24.
In the meantime, Manang Youth Society issued a press release yesterday saying that the weather has been good for the past 3 days with sunny weather following last week heavy snowfall. "It will take some time for planes to resume regular flights. According to information from Manang, all the tourists stranded at Tilicho Lake have been rescued with the help of local people and flown out by helicopter. Tourist traffic continues on the Annapurna circuit.

While tourists whose treks have been cut short by the recent weather conditions are returning to Kathmandu via Besisahar, others are continuing to walk up to Manang in the hope of crossing the Thorong Pass to reach Jomsom," it further states.
In order to better facilitate tourists, the Tourism Crisis Response Action Unit at Nepal Tourism Board works 24/7 to respond to the queries and facilitate or take necessary initiative round the clock. This operation has been supported by Media Center of Nepal Tourism Board. The staff on duty is available at mobile number 9851087744. The mobile number of Media Center is 9851077385. You may contact us at


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