- Avalanches were triggered by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake that ripped through Nepal, India, China and Bangladesh
- Up to 2,200 people have died in the disaster across the Himalayas with scores still unaccounted for in the region
- Everest basecamp was buried by deadly avalanches that were sparked by the earthquake on Saturday morning
- Among mountaineers to have died is American Google executive Dan Fredinburg and Dr Marisa Eve Girawong
- The earthquake is Nepal's worst natural disaster for 81 years while Everest has never seen so many die on one day
- Another avalanche was feared after a 6.9 aftershock struck, with hundreds still thought to be stranded
As many 18 climbers and sherpas are feared dead after a series of avalanches buried Everest basecamp following a huge earthquake that has so far claimed 2,200 lives across the Himalayas.
Among mountaineers thought to have died in the disaster is 33-year-old Google executive and a former University of Leicester medical student doctor offering care at the site.
The were buried by avalanches triggered by a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Nepal slammed into a section of the mountaineering base camp, where hundreds were preparing to make their summit attempts.
It started on Mount Kumori, a 23,000-foot-high mountain just a few miles from Everest, and gathered strength as it tore across the world's highest peak. Hundreds are now believed to be stranded on climbing trails across the Himalayas.
Yet more avalanches were feared following the earthquake's aftershock which measured 6.9 on the Richter scale.
American Google executive Dan Fredinburg was the first confirmed fatality on the mountain yesterday. Dr Marisa Eve Girawong, 29, was also killed when ice and rock crushed the 18,000-foot-altitude base camp where she worked as a medic for Madison Mountaineering.
They are two of at least 2,200 people who lost their lives in the earthquake which ripped across Nepal, India, China and Bangladesh on Saturday, demolishing centuries-old temples in the Nepalese capital, Kathmandu.
It is the worst natural disaster Nepal has seen in 81 years, and the highest death toll ever recorded on Everest. Before now, the mountain's deadliest year was 2014, when 16 people died in one day.
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Tragic: Dr Marisa Eve Girawong (left), 29, a medic on the base camp, and Google engineer Dan Fredinburg, 33, (right) are the first identified fatalities in the Everest avalanche, which killed at least 17 climbers
A photograph of Everest basecamp after the avalanche struck yesterday shows climbers carrying the injured in sleeping bags, their tents and possessions strewn over the mountain
A cloud of snow and debris flew towards the basecamp killing up to 18 people yesterday in the deadliest day in the mountain's history
Devastating: Climbers and Sherpas were buried under rock and ice at the mountain's 18,000-foot-high base camp (pictured)
Historic: It is the highest death toll ever recorded on the mountain, which has never seen more than 16 annual fatalities
Born in New Jersey, Girawong (second right) studied at Rutgers University before specializing in mountaineering medication at the UK's University of Leicester and in the Scottish peaks. As a mountain climber, she scaled Mt Washington and Mt Rainer
A post on the Madison Mountaineering Facebook page confirmed Miss Girawong's death. As many as 18 people are thought to have died on the mountain yesterday
Miss Girawong studied in the U.S. before specialising in mountaineering medication at the University of Leicester and in the Scottish Peaks
Dr Girawong was the Level 1 base camp doctor for Seattle-based climbing firm Madison Mountaineering, with a focus on trauma.
MORE AVALANCHES FEARED FOLLOWING 6.9 AFTERSHOCK
More avalanches were feared after the deadly earthquake's 6.9 aftershock rocked the mountain on Sunday.
While a lesser tremor than the original quake, it it is still thought to have sparked avalanches.
One climber was on the phone to Reuters news agency when it struck.
'Another one, we have an aftershock right now, oh s**t,” Indian mountaineer Arjun Vajpai said.
He is thought to be located on an advanced base camp on Mount Makalu, some 12 miles from Everest.
Jim Davidson, another climber, took to Twitter, posting: 'Just had our biggest aftershock yet here at C1 on Everest.
'Smaller than original quake but glacier shook & avalanches'
Born in New Jersey, she studied at Rutgers University before specializing in mountaineering medication at the UK's University of Leicester and in the Scottish peaks. She completed her studies in trauma medicine at Chicago's John Stroger Hospital - one of the top emergency programs in the country.
As a mountain climber, she scaled Mt Washington and Mt Rainer.
Fredinburg and other Google executives were climbing with the Everest adventure team Jagged Globe. The rest of his team sustained non life-threatening injuries.
His job title was 'Google Adventurer'. He used to photograph the world's high peaks for Google Maps, and was also head of privacy for the firm's elusive invention factory Google X.
His former girlfriend Bush, who ended their one-year relationship last February, delivered the news in an emotional post on Instagram, which paid tribute to 'one of the great loves of my life' who was 'one of a kind'.
In a long statement, Bush said: 'There are no adequate words. Today I find myself attempting to pick up the pieces of my heart that have broken into such tiny shards, I'll likely never find them all.
'Today I, and so many of my loved ones, lost an incredible friend. Dan Fredinburg was one-of-a-kind. Fearless. Funny. A dancing robot who liked to ride dinosaurs and chase the sun and envision a better future for the world.'
The couple separated in February 2014 due to long distance despite friends' suspicions they might one day marry. But they stayed close.
Last April, before they had announced their split, Fredinburg narrowly survived another Mount Everest avalanche that killed 16 Sherpas - and Bush took to Twitter to assure her followers he was all right.
Bush tweeted: 'For all concerned, @danfredinburg & team are safe at Camp 1 on #Everest after the avalanche. Please keep the Sherpas in your prayers.'
Fredinburg's death was first confirmed by his younger sister Megan, who posted a picture of her brother climbing a mountain to his Instagram account with an explanatory caption.
Dan Fredinburg also did in the disaster. The 33-year-old's former girlfriend, actress Sophia Bush, described him as 'an incredible friend'
She wrote: 'This is Dan's little sister Megan. I regret to inform all who loved him that during the avalanche on Everest early this morning our Dan suffered from a major head injury and didn't make it. We appreciate all of the love that has been sent our way thus far and know his soul and his spirit will live on in so many of us. All our love and thanks to those who shared this life with our favorite hilarious strong willed man. He was and is everything to us. Thank you.'
At least 2,200 people have died in the Nepalese earthquake that ripped across four countries. It is the worst since 1934, when a quake killed 8,500 people.
National police spokesman Kamal Singh Ban said the number known to have died in Nepal had risen to 1,953 while officials in India said the toll there now stood at 53.
Chinese state media said 17 people had been killed in the Tibet region.
A spokesman for the Indian Army told Reuters rescue teams have pulled 18 dead bodies from the ice and rocks which fell on the base camp. It is not known how many were paying climbers or employed Sherpas.
Disaster response specialists, including experts in search and rescue, will travel to Nepal overnight where they will assess the scale of the damage caused by the quake, which destroyed homes, businesses and temples in the capital of Kathmandu.
One of the destroyed buildings was the historic Dharahara Tower. The tower was a 203-foot structure built in 1832, commissioned by Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa to act as a military watchtower.
Officials would stand at the top of the tower to sound a bugle at the start of important events.
It was not open to the public until 2005, when visitors were finally allowed to climb the 213 steps. The eighth-floor balcony had a circular balcony overlooking the Kathmandu valley.
Sixty people were found in the wreckage when it collapsed on Saturday.
Destroyed: Maju Deval, a Shiva temple built in 1609 in Kathmandu, Nepal, pictured (left) last year, and (right) following the earthquake
A child receives treatment outside the emergency ward of Bir hospital in Kathmandu, Nepal
A man buried up to his shoulders in rubble is rescued from the remains of a destroyed building in Kathmandu after the earthquake
One of the destroyed buildings was the historic Dharahara Tower (pictured, left, last year). It was a 203-foot structure built in 1832, commissioned by Prime Minister Bhimsen Thapa to be a military watchtower. On Saturday (right) rescuers pulled bodies from its rubble
People carry a woman from the rubble of a destroyed building while locals and rescue teams continue to search for more survivors
Avalanche: Terrifying avalanche pictured from basecamp on Mount Everest caused by the earthquake today
The avalanche was caused by a powerful 7.8 magnitude earthquake which struck Nepal and has claimed the lives of 2,200 people
Danish climber Carsten Lillelund Pedersen hid behind these rocks when the avalanche caught up with him at basecamp
A tent at basecamp has been turned into a hospital. People are being treated for head injuries and fractures
10 MOST POWERFUL EARTHQUAKES
- Chile, 22 May 1960, magnitude 9.5 The earthquake killed approximately 1,655, injured 3,000 and left 2million homeless
- Alaska, U.S., 28 March 1964, magnitude 9.2 This great earthquake and ensuing tsunami took 131 lives
- Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, 26 December 2004, 9.1 magnitude In total, 227,898 people were killed or were missing and presumed dead in the Boxing Day tsunami
- Honshu, Japan, 11 March 2011, 9.0 magnitude More than 15,700 people were killed and at least 332,395 buildings were destroyed
- Kamchatka, Russia, 4 November 1952, 9.0 magnitude, The earthquake produced tsunamis in Japan and Alaska
- Maule, Chile, 27 February 2010, 8.8 magnitude At least 523 people lost their lives
- Ecuador, 31 January 1906, 8.8 magnitude Generated a tsunami that struck Colombia and Ecuador, killing up to 1500 people
- Rat Islands, Alaska, 4 November 1965, 8.7 magnitude Property was destroyed
- Northern Sumatra, Indonesia, 28 March 2005, 8.6 magnitude At least 1,000 killed
- Tibet, 15 August 1950, 8.6 magnitude At least 780 people killed
Source: U.S. Geological Survey. Data from 1990 onwards
Officials estimated that at least 1,000 climbers had been at basecamp or on Everest when the earthquake struck.
Jagged Globe, the team with which Fredinburg was climbing, released a statement on Saturday evening confirming his death and announcing the other climbers had survived with injuries:
'It is with the greatest sorrow that we report the death of one of our Everest team members, Daniel Fredinburg. Two other team members have non-life threatening injuries, as a result of the avalanche that struck base camp during the earthquake and its aftershocks. They are being looked after in base camp. All Sherpas and other team members are uninjured and are safe in base camp or in Gorak Shep, a nearby cluster of tea houses and lodges.'
It continued: 'Our thoughts and prayers go out to Dan’s family and friends whilst we pray too for all those who have lost their lives in one of the greatest tragedies ever to hit this Himalayan nation.'
April is one of the most popular times to scale Everest, before rain and clouds cloak the peak at the end of May.
Mohan Krishna Sapkota, joint secretary in the Nepalese tourism ministry, said the government was struggling to assess the damage on Everest because of poor phone coverage.
'The trekkers are scattered all around the basecamp and some had even trekked further up,' Sapkota said. 'It is almost impossible to get in touch with anyone.'
Choti Sherpa, who works at the Everest Summiteers Association, said she had been unable to call her family and colleagues on the mountain.
'Everyone is trying to contact each other, but we can't,' she said. 'We are all very worried.'
Google has launched a 'person finder' website to help people reconnect with friends and loved ones in the aftermath of the earthquake.
Reports are emerging that seismology experts had predicted the possibility of an imminent devastating earthquake and began laying out action plans a week ago.
'It was sort of a nightmare waiting to happen,' said seismologist James Jackson, head of the earth sciences department at the Cambridge University. 'Physically and geologically what happened is exactly what we thought would happen.
'I was walking through that very area where that earthquake was and I thought at the very time that the area was heading for trouble,' said Mr Jackson, lead scientist for Earthquakes Without Frontiers, a group that tries to help Asian cities prepare for disasters.
Tweeting from the mountain, Daniel Mazur from the UK wrote: 'Aftershock @ 1pm! Horrible here in camp 1. Avalanches on 3 sides. C1 a tiny island. We worry about icefall team below.. Alive?'
Chris Harling, who is leader of the Adventure Peaks Everest North Ridge 2015 Expedition, was also on the mountain when the avalanche struck.
Posting on Facebook, he wrote: 'Here in base camp we initially felt minor tremors, then the ground began to feel like jelly as waves passed through the rocks beneath our feet.
'Climbers appeared from tents all over camp to try to start to comprehend what they were feeling.
'As the movement became more violent I expected the loose and precarious rocky slopes above the camp area to start shedding huge boulders - it was extremely alarming wondering if we were to be buried by rockfall.
'Sure enough, an area of steep cliffs did break off sending car sized boulders hurtling down only a few hundred metres from our tents. We are still feeling aftershocks hours later.'
He added: 'Our thoughts are with any local staff working on Everest who may have been affected by losses in today's quake.'
Climber Alex Gavan from Romania tweeted: 'Everest basecamp huge earthquake then huge avalanche from Pumori. Running for life from my tent. Unhurt. Many, many people up the mountain.
'Huge disaster. Helped searched and rescued victims through huge debris area. Many dead. Much more badly injured. More to die if not heli asap.'
A senior mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, of the Nepal Mountaineering Association, said the avalanche occurred between the Khumbu Icefall, a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow, and the basecamp where most climbing expeditions have their main camps.
Carsten Lillelund Pedersen, a Dane who is climbing Everest with Belgian climber Jelle Veyt, said on his Facebook page that they were at Khumbu Icefall when the earthquake hit.
He wrote: 'The earthquake near Everest was very strong and we could feel the earth shaking a lot, and then a huge avalanche swept over basecamp and Jelle and I had to run for our life, but I did not reach the tents and I had to hide behind the the stone puja.
'I could not see anything and it was hard to breath.
'Our camp is at the end of basecamp which is like a small city with almost 500 tents, I am sure there are casualties, and we fear for an Indian group we met that were heading up the ice fall.'
He said the injured, including one person with many broken bones, had begun to arrive.
A mountaineer reports from basecamp on Mount Everest following the avalanche, caused by a quake
Locals rescue a man from the the rubble of a destroyed building, as they work to find and rescue any survivors of the disaster
'He was blown away by the avalanche and broke both legs,' Mr Lillelund Pedersen said. 'For the camps closer to where the avalanche hit, our Sherpas believe that a lot of people may have been buried in their tents.
'There is now a steady flow of people fleeing basecamp in hope of more security further down the mountain.'
Norwegian climber Teodor Glomnes Johansen, who was at basecamp, told a newspaper in Norway they are working to save lives.
'We carry out severely injured people. This is pretty tough and heavy. We do not know whether there will be more avalanches,' Mr Glomnes Johansen told Norway's VG newspaper.
'All those who are unharmed organise help with the rescue efforts. Men, women and Sherpas are working side-by-side. The job right now is to assist the doctors in the camp here.'
Chinese media has reported that a Chinese climber and two Sherpa guides were among the dead.
Climber Robin Trygg told Swedish news agency TT his Sherpa guides had been in radio contact with other guides on Everest and they reported an avalanche there hitting as many as 80 people.
'We were sitting in the tent and drinking tea when the earth, all of a sudden, began shaking. We didn't understand what happened,' he told the news agency.
Everest basecamp: At least 17 people have died and many have been injured in the avalanche
The United States Geological Survey said the quake struck 81 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Kathmandu at 06.11 GMT, with walls crumbling and families racing outside of their homes
A senior mountaineering guide, Ang Tshering, said an avalanche swept the face of Everest after the earthquake
The avalanche is believed to have occurred between the Khumbu Icefall, a rugged area of collapsed ice and snow, and basecamp
Homes, businesses and landmarks were destroyed when the severe earthquake struck Kathmandu and the densely-populated surrounding areas at noon local time, officials said.
Rescue teams continue to search for survivors who are feared to be trapped under the rubble. Home Ministry official Laxmi Dhakal warned the death toll is almost certain to rise.
Effects of the quake were felt hundreds of miles away in neighbouring countries with 36 killed in India, 12 in Tibet and 4 in Bangladesh. Two Chinese citizens died at the Nepal-China border.
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Mount Everest basecamp in Nepal pictured on April 11 before the avalanche hit, killing at least 17 people
Men carry an injured person through the streets of Kathmandu, Nepal after a 7.8 magnitude earthquake caused massive damage in the city
People search for survivors stuck under the rubble of a destroyed building, after the earthquake caused serious damage in the capital