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Everest Fight: British Climber Jonathan Griffith Says He 'Could Have Been Killed'

30/04/2013 10:22 BST | Updated 30/04/2013 12:45 BST

A British climber has described the moment he was caught up in a terrifiying brawl on the slopes of Mount Everest.

Jonathan Griffith said he and two friends were attacked by up to 150 Sherpas more than two thirds up the world's highest montain.

The 29-year-old told The Sun the Nepalese guides hurled rocks, kicked and punched him and two friends in a camp at 21,000 feet after an argument broke out.

Griffin said he and experienced climbers Simone Moro, 45, from Italy, and Swiss national Ueli Steck, 36, were left bruised and cut after the attack.

According to The Sun, a Tourism Minstry Offiical said three Sherpas were no longer working on the mountain, and said the row had been caused by a "communication gap."

The three were only saved when a group of Western climbers intervened, he added.

"They didn't want to talk, they wanted to finish us off," he said.

"They picked up big rocks off the glaciers and started throwing them at us.

"We came under attack for about 15 minutes."

Griffith, who is from London but now lives in Chamonix, France, said his group had now cancelled their trip.

He claimed the argument started when an angry Sherpa leader confronted the trio and accused them of injuring one of his men, who was securing ropes on the mountain for another expedition.

When the three later returned to their camp at 21,000ft, they found a group of Sherpas waiting for them.

They were able to flee the mountain when another group of climbers stepped in to help.

"We owe our lives to these brave people. Without them, we'd surely be dead at the hands of an out of control mob," Mr Griffith said.

However, Nepalese mountaineering officials said the Sherpas are accusing the foreign climbers of starting the fight.

Dipendra Poudel, of the Mountaineering Department, said they were investigating the incident.