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Sunday, September 23, 2012
Updated: October 5, 1:55 PM ET
Avalanche hits Plake ski expedition

ESPN.com

An avalanche on 26,760-foot Mount Manaslu in the Himalayas of northern Nepal Sunday morning has left at least nine dead and six others missing. Freeski pioneer Glen Plake and ski mountaineers Rémy Lécluse and Greg Costa, who have been attempting to become the first team to ski the world's eighth highest peak without oxygen, were caught in the slide. As of report time Glen Plake is confirmed alive; Costa and Lécluse are still missing.

Greg Hill, pictured here on a recent trek to nearby Mera Peak in the Himalayas, was among the slide's survivors.

EpicTV editor Trey Cook has reported that he made contact with Plake earlier today: "It was a major, major accident," Plake told Cook. "There are up to 14 people missing. There were 25 tents at Camp 3 (6,800 meters) and all of them were destroyed. Twelve tents at Camp 2 (6300m) were banged up and moved around. Greg (Costa) and I were in a tent together, Rémy was in another. ... I was swept 300 meters over a serac and down the mountain and came to a stop still in my sleeping bag, still inside the tent. ... I punched my way out of the tent and started searching.

"I found everything that was in my tent ... but there was no sign of Greg. Rémy and his tent are nowhere to be found. ... The Dynafit crew (Canadian skier Greg Hill's team) were sleeping at a high Camp 2 and were immediately on site to rescue people. ... We've done three searches but when the fog rolled in we had to call it off. It was a massive serac fall, probably 600 to 700 meters across. It's a war zone up here."

According to the Associated Press, police official Basanta Bahadur Kuwar said the bodies of a Nepalese guide and a German man were recovered and that rescue pilots had spotted seven other bodies on the slopes. On Monday, rescuers brought down eight bodies and were trying to retrieve the ninth, according to Kuwar.

In Madrid, Spain's Foreign Ministry said one of those killed was Spanish, but did not release the person's identity. The identities of the other victims were still being confirmed.

Ten climbers survived the avalanche but many were injured and were flown to hospitals by rescue helicopters, Kuwar said.

Rescue pilot Pasang, who uses only one name, said three injured French citizens and two Germans had been transported to hospitals in Katmandu.

He said rescuers were also attempting to bring the bodies of the dead back to the base camp.

Weather conditions were deteriorating and it was not possible to continue air searches of the mountain Sunday afternoon, Kuwar said.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.