TRAGEDY IN NEPAL

Spain concerned about fate of four climbers still missing in Nepal

Relatives of the Asturian men complain that government is not keeping them duly informed

The four missing mountaineers and their guide.
The four missing mountaineers and their guide.

The Spanish government is concerned about the fate of four mountain climbers from Asturias who went missing in Nepal after a powerful earthquake killed at least 5,000 people there.

Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo said on Thursday that the four men were in Langtang, a “particularly bad” area.

García-Margallo was in India on an official visit when the quake hit, and postponed his return in order to lead the evacuation of Spaniards from Nepal. He and a first group of 44 people landed in Spain on Wednesday morning in a military aircraft. Another group of 39 arrived later that same day.

Please send the resources to bring them back alive. Don’t let the Himalayas become their grave!”

But the families of the missing mountaineers say the Foreign Ministry has not been forthcoming with information.

“Nobody has gotten in touch with us,” says Sheila Hernández, daughter of Ángel Hernández.

Her 57-year-old father left Spain on April 17 with his climbing mates Sabino Fernández, Egidio García and Jesús Mosteirín. They were going to trek inside Langtang National Park, and the tremor caught them in the area of Kyanjin Gompa, around 80 kilometers from Kathmandu.

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The last time they got in touch with their families was April 20, when they exchanged a few WhatsApp messages. The climbers warned that they were headed for an area where there would be bad reception.

The regional government of Asturias on Thursday asked for “prudence” regarding information provided by the Spanish embassy in New Delhi to the effect that the mountaineers have been located but remain isolated. So far, no evidence of direct contact with any of the men has emerged, the Efe news agency reports.

Their families have started a petition on Change.org to ask the government to send out a rescue team to find them.

“We know that several countries are sending helicopters to evacuate their countrymen and women. Please send the resources necessary to bring them back alive from Nepal. Don’t let the Himalayas become their grave!”

“Today, for the first time in six days, they’ve told us that there are helicopters flying over the Langtang area,” says Hernández, adding that they are not the only relatives suffering from “a lack of information.”

The Spanish government is still looking for 78 Spaniards, 13 of whom are thought to be in mountain areas, according to the news agency EP.

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