Quebec woman tells harrowing tale of surviving avalanche and blizzard in Nepal

A Canadian survivor of the Nepal avalanche that has killed 27 people is telling a harrowing tale of survival and being buried waist-high in thick, heavy snow.

A Canadian survivor of the Nepal avalanche that has killed 27 people is telling a harrowing tale of survival and being buried waist-high in thick, heavy snow.

Quebecer Sonia Leveque tells Radio-Canada’s all-news network she thought she was going to die and that she and her fellow trekkers were lucky to survive.

She told RDI today the avalanche was a “nightmare” that nobody in her small group saw coming.

The death toll in the tragedy has been revised upward to 27, with four Canadians among the dead and others among the roughly 70 people missing.

Leveque says she and her fellow travellers are shaken up but will stay in Kathmandu for at least a few days to see how the rest of the rescue operation unfolds.

One of the men in her group has lost his wife and Leveque says it’s important to stay with him to give him support.

On Thursday, search teams in army helicopters rescued dozens of stranded foreign trekkers and recovered more bodies in mountains in the northern part of the country.

Ganga Sagar Pant of the Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal said the death toll in the area was expected to rise.

The route, 160 kilometres northwest of Kathmandu, was filled with international hikers during the peak October trekking season, when the air is generally clear and cool. There were also many Nepalese on the trails because of local festivals.

The co-founder of Montreal-based travel agency Terra Ultima has said three Quebecers are among those missing and feared dead.

Julien Passerini said six Quebecers in all were in the area, including those missing: two women in their 50s and one in her 30s. One of the three is the hikers’ guide.

“The group of five people, accompanied by an experienced guide, left Canada for Nepal on Oct. 3 for a three-week trip,” Terra Ultima said in a statement Wednesday.

A statement from the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal said the bodies of four Canadians were recovered from the Phu area in Manang district.

A company called Panorama Himalaya confirmed the deaths of three Canadian clients in an avalanche while a company called Nepal Hidden Treks confirmed the death of a Canadian woman.

Panorama Himalaya also said it had rescued three other Canadian trekkers, according to the Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal.

Nepal government administrator Yama Bahadur Chokhyal said Thursday that rescuers recovered 10 more bodies from the Thorong La pass area, where they had been caught in a sudden blizzard Tuesday. The bodies were not yet identified.

Chokhyal said 64 more foreign trekkers were rescued from the area on Thursday. Two trekkers from Hong Kong and 12 Israelis were airlifted Wednesday to Kathmandu, where they were being treated at a hospital.

They said they survived by taking refuge in a small tea shop along the path.

“I was sure I was going to die on the way to the pass because I lost my group, I lost all the people I was with and I could not see anything,” said Linor Kajan, an injured trekker from Israel, who said she was stuck in waist-deep snow.

“One Nepalese guide who knows the way saw me and asked me to stay with him. And he dragged me, really dragged me to the tea shop. And everybody there was really frightened,” she said.

Another Israeli survivor, Yakov Megreli, said they tried to stay awake in the tea shop to stay warm.

“We tried not to sleep. We tried not to get hypothermia. It was a very frightening and awful situation,” he said.

Authorities said five climbers were killed in a separate avalanche about 75 kilometres to the west, at the base camp for Mount Dhaulagiri.

The climbers, two Slovaks and three Nepali guides, were preparing to scale the 8,167-meter peak, the world’s seventh tallest, said Gyanedra Shrestha of Nepal’s mountaineering department. Their bodies were recovered Thursday.

An avalanche in April just above the base camp on Mount Everest killed 16 Nepalese guides, the deadliest single disaster on the mountain. Climate experts say rising global temperatures have contributed to avalanches in the Himalayas.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Attendees of the Downtown Red Deer Market, which runs every Wednesday during the summer on Little Gaetz Avenue, have complained about the lack of public washrooms. (Photo contributed by Red Deer Downtown Business Association)
Portable washrooms to be set up in downtown Red Deer this summer

More data is needed before the city invests in a permanent structure

A survey of 3,083 Red Deer residents was done by an online platform on behalf of the City of Red Deer, generating about 11,607 comments.. (File photo)
Red Deerians speak out about COVID-19 concerns in survey

More than 3,000 city residents were surveyed

A Calgary energy company's request for a tax break was turned down by Lacombe County. About $31,000 was owed by a company that went bankrupt and Silverleaf Resources Inc. bought some of their assets.
(Advocate file photo)
Lacombe County turns down oil company’s tax break request

Silverleaf Resources Inc. hoped for break on $31,000 in back taxes

RCMP recovered hundreds of stolen items, including Bibles and historical items stolen from the Bowden Pioneer Museum.
(Photo from RCMP)
Museum artifacts among hundreds of stolen items recovered by RCMP in central Alberta

Second World War and other historical and religious items recovered

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Kailer Yamamoto (56) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly (44) reach for the rebound from Leafs goalie Michael Hutchinson (30) during second-period NHL action in Edmonton on Monday, March 1, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman watches his solo home run during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Monday, March 1, 2021, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu (88) clears the puck in front of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) as Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson (40) looks for the rebound during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Monday March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Rugby training gear is shown during a Torotno Wolfpack during a practice at Lamport Stadium in Toronto. Bradford, Featherstone, Leigh, London,  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson
Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) and centre Chris Tierney (71) get sandwiched between Flames defencemen Rasmus Andersson (4) and Juuso Valimaki (6) during second-period NHL action in Ottawa on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Skiers may be safe from COVID-19, but not those working to keep slopes open: experts

Skiers may be safe from COVID-19, but not those working to keep slopes open: experts

Armas likes what he sees in Toronto FC camp but there are still issues to resolve

Armas likes what he sees in Toronto FC camp but there are still issues to resolve

Team Canada's Jocelyne Larocque celebrates her goal past the U.S.A. with goaltender Embrace Maschmeyer during first period of Women's Rivalry Series hockey action in Vancouver on February 5, 2020. The Canadian women's hockey team opened a camp Monday in Halifax, which is co-hosting the upcoming world championship. Hockey Canada invited 35 players to participate in the seven-day camp closed to the public and media at Scotiabank Centre. The women are training under restrictions because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a limit of 25 players on the ice at one time. "They will continue to follow strict COVID-19 testing as per team health and safety protocols that have been detailed and approved by Nova Scotia Public Health," Hockey Canada said Monday in a statement. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Canadian women’s hockey team preparing for possible May world championship

Canadian women’s hockey team preparing for possible May world championship

Most Read