The gripping immediacy of Twitter was on full display Saturday as witnesses such as English climber Daniel Mazur tweeted from Mount Everest after a major earthquake hit Nepal, triggering Avalanches around the famously dangerous destination.
“A Massive earthquake just hit Everest. Basecamp has been severely damaged. Our team is caught in camp 1. Please pray for everyone,” tweeted Mazur.
The 7.9-magnitude earthquake, was the strongest to hit Nepal in more than 8o years. The estimated death toll has climbed throughout the day, but the New York Times is now reporting that Nepal officials say it is now at 1157. The quake was centered about 80 miles northwest of Nepal’s capital, Kathmandu.
The Nepal earthquake is the strongest since a 8.2 magnitude quake struck off the coast of Chile last April, and the most deadly since the magnitude 9.0 earthquake, and subsequent tsunami, off the Pacific coast of Tōhoku Japan in 2011.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Department spokesperson says there are at least 388 Canadians who have registered as being in Nepal.
Romanian climber Alex Gavan tweeted from the Everest base camp at approximately 2:47am EST.
“Huge disaster. Helped searched and rescued victims through huge debris area. Many dead. Much more badly injured. More to die if not heli asap.”
Nepal tourism department official Gyanendra Kumar Shrestha said there were as many as one thousand people still on the mountain.
From his Facebook page, Quebec climber Gabriel Filippi said he and his friends present at the base camp were unharmed.
“Powerful earthquake at the base camp of Everest,” he wrote. “Several deaths, wounded and missing. All Quebecers are safe and sound.”
Today’s earthquake comes just over a year after the deadliest avalanche ever recorded at Mount Everest killed 16 Sherpa guides.