Hope fades for Quebec doctor buried in Himalayan avalanche
Dominique Ouimet, a cardiologist at the hospital in Saint-Jerome, Queb. is missing after an avalanche in Nepal, Sunday, Sept. 23, 2012. (COURTESY HOSPITAL OF SAINT JEROME)
MOUNT MANASLU, Nepal — Searchers are holding out little hope of finding a Canadian cardiologist buried in a Himalayan avalanche that killed at least nine people.
Dr. Dominique Ouimet was trying to raise $25,000 for his hospital in St. Jerome, Que., by climbing Mount Manaslu, an 8.15-km Himalayan peak that's the eighth highest in the world.
More than a dozen people were buried Sunday when an ice cliff gave way at 7,000 metres, triggering an avalanche. Four climbers, including Ouimet, were still missing on Monday.
"I am sad to report that the possibility those missing survived the avalanche have almost faded," Nepalese tourism official Balkrishna Ghimire said.
"Even if the missing climbers were only injured, it will be very difficult for them to survive. There are no camps and no one at that altitude could help them or treat them."
Ghimire said a ground search resumed Monday after it was interrupted due to bad weather. An air search was suspended indefinitely.
Officials have identified eight of the nine dead climbers. They include four Frenchmen, a Nepalese guide, a Spaniard, a German and an Italian.
The avalanche rolled through several camps at 5 a.m. Sunday while many climbers were still sleeping.
Extreme skier Greg Hill of Revelstoke, B.C., was on the mountain at the time and his team rescued several climbers.
Ouimet is an experienced climber, having scaled nine high peaks since 2004 including Mount Kilimanjaro in Tanzania. His excursion to Mount Manaslu was a fundraiser to purchase cardiology equipment.
Ouimet's 24-member team reportedly included climbers from Switzerland and France as well as two European guides and six Sherpas.