At least four Russian mountain climbers have been reported missing on Mount Everest following a major earthquake in Nepal that killed more than 2,350 people, Russian media reported Sunday.
Kommersant business daily cited a representative of the Russian tourism industry union as saying four mountaineers had not been in contact since the massive earthquake hit Saturday, while state news agency RIA Novosti reported that a group of three Russian mountaineers was missing, citing the director of a travel agency based in Nepal. It was not immediately clear whether the reports referred to the same group.
The first earthquake, of 7.9 magnitude, hit Nepal on Saturday, followed by an aftershock Sunday of 6.7 magnitude that rocked the area east of the country's capital Kathmandu.
At least 17 climbers were killed by avalanches on Everest set off by the earthquake, and at least 37 others were injured, Nepalese officials have said.
Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said earlier Sunday that no Russians had been killed or injured in the disaster.
“According to Foreign Ministry data, there are no Russians among the dead or injured. We have also received confirmation that the Russian tourist groups that were climbing Mount Everest are fine,” Deputy Emergency Situations Minister Vladimir Stepanov told the Interfax news agency.
Other groups of Russian climbers on Everest earlier reported to have been stranded by the earthquake and its aftereffects later got in touch with the Russian Mountaineering Federation.
Russia's Emergency Situations Ministry said Sunday it would send two airplanes to Nepal the same day, with more than 80 rescuers — including medics, mountain climbers, sniffer dogs and psychologists — on board.
Around 250 Russians received aid at the Nepal office of Rossotrudnichestvo, Russia's agency that promotes cultural ties with countries across the world, Interfax reported.
It is Nepal's worst earthquake in the area since 1934, when a quake killed 8,500 people.