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Nepal Plane Crash Latest In Long Line Of Tragedies To Hit Popular Climbing Region (PICTURES)

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The high number of adventurers drawn to Nepal to climb the world's highest mountains has led to more than its fair share of tragedies.

Friday's plane crash, which killed 19 people including seven Britons, is the latest to hit the popular trekking region.

At least nine foreign tourists died earlier this week in an avalanche that swept through a base camp on the world's eighth-highest peak, Mount Manaslu.

It came at the start of Nepal's autumn climbing season, when the end of the monsoon rains makes weather in the high Himalayas unpredictable.

nepal plane crash

Friday's crash is believed to have been caused by a bird strike

In September last year 19 people were killed when a Buddha Air propeller plane came down in Bisankunarayan village, just a few miles south of the capital, Kathmandu.

In 2010 British national Jeremy Taylor, 30, who had been living in South Africa, died when a small passenger plane heading to the Mount Everest region crashed in heavy rain outside Nepal's capital.

Four US nationals and a Japanese tourist were also killed when the Agni Air flight went down, killing all 14 people on board.

The landlocked country of 26 million nestled between India and China has been a magnet to mountaineers and other adventurers since Mount Everest was conquered in 1953.

The tiny landlocked country only opened its borders to foreign tourists in 1950 but interest in climbing the massive Himalayan peaks has steadily increased since Everest was first successfully topped by Sir Edmund Hillary and Sherpa Tenzing Norgay three years later.

mount manaslu

Nine tourists died on Mount Manaslu earlier this week in an avalanche

In the first eight months of this year 377,043 tourists arrived in Kathmandu, according to the Nepalese Tourism Board.

The mountain and its neighbours continue to claim their fair share of victims.

In May this year, British teenager Leanna Shuttleworth told how she had to climb past the bodies of several mountaineers who were either dead or dying to reach the summit of Mount Everest.

The 19-year-old from Buckinghamshire, who became the youngest British woman to reach the top, said at the time passing the casualties on the mountain was the most horrific part of the ascent.

She said: "There were casualties from the day before which was tragic and horrendous.

"There were quite a few bodies attached to the fixed lines and we had to walk round them.

"There were a couple who were still alive. Our Sherpa helped one of the people but a couple were so far gone they didn't even know we were there. It was the most horrendous thing to see."

The Khumbu area the British climbers were heading for is found below the Everest Base Camp and includes the Khumbu Glacier, at an altitude of 17,388ft (5,300m).

everest base camp

Many trekkers set off from Mount Everest base camp

The thrill of climbing 29,028 feet (8,848m) to the top of the world's highest peak, as well as the seven other mountains rising above 8,000m in the country, has not been without other impacts as well, including ecological.

In 2009, Sherpa Appa, a Nepalese guide who broke his own record to climb Mount Everest for the 19th time, said his team brought down 5,000kg (5.51tons) of rubbish from the mountain.

Sherpa Appa said he is also concerned about the impact of global warming on the world's highest mountain.

He said people must clean Everest and protect it, and that the warming temperature is increasing the volume of glacial lakes.

rubbish everest

More than five tonnes of rubbish were brought down from Mount Everest in 2009

The following year, British environmental campaigner Lewis Gordon Pugh became the first person to complete a long distance swim on Mount Everest.

The 40-year-old swam 1km across a glacial lake on the slopes of the world's highest mountain wearing only Speedos, goggles and a swimming hat.

Dubbed the "human polar bear" for his ability to survive extreme cold, Mr Pugh plunged into Pumori Lake near the Khumbu Glacier, at an altitude of 5,300 metres, and completed the swim in 22 minutes and 51 seconds.

The adventurer uses his record-breaking endurance swims to raise awareness of climate change and completed the event to draw attention to the melting of Himalayan glaciers and the resulting dwindling water supplies in the region.

Also on The Huffington Post

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