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Sean Wisedale – Mt Everest expedition 2015 – Himalayan earthquake triggers massive avalanche through Base Camp

Written By: sean on April 26, 2015 19 Comments

Yesterday at 12.15pm the shockwaves of a heavy earthquake hit Mt Everest Base Camp.  Mountains and glaciers shook all around us.  It was terrifying.  From the neighbouring mountain Pumori an avalanche was triggered.  A massive ice slab sheared and thundered into Base Camp.  It lifted rocks and boulders ahead of it, slamming into hundreds of tents in the center of the camp and spilling over onto the Khumbu glacier on the other side.

Many cook staff and climbers were in their tents at the time.  Fortunately our camp was protected by a high ridge. Still, we were hit by a hundred meter high plume of crystallised ice about a minute after the quake.  We all dived into our safest and most shielded tents.  The horror was unimaginable as it went completely dark and we huddled around hoping not to be crushed alive. The tent held up.  A minute later it had past but we all knew there were going to be casualties. Unsure of whether another quake or aftershock would hit or whether the glacier would open up beneath our feet we waited for a while.  The weather conditions were bad then – heavy snow began to fall and visibility of the surrounding peaks was nil.  Everywhere around us it was unstable.  Avalanches continued to fall.

We then went out and tried to assist the wounded.  Many climbers were not in the camps that had taken the biggest hit.  Thank goodness they were up at Camp 1 or Camp 2 or there would have been more dead and injured.  Climbers and camp staff were being extracted from tents, snow and debris and taken into any place of refuge.  Base Camp was the site of post Armageddon.

We handed over all our pain killers and as much medical supplies as we had and could. Limited numbers of medical staff had pitched in and were assisting those who were wounded.  An ICU tent was set up and another tent for those less critical.  Most of the wounds were head wounds from flying stones that had come through from the force of the avalanche. They carried the wounded in and scrounged amongst the debris to try and extract jackets and sleeping bags to keep them warm into the night.

The smell of leaking gas bottles wafted all around the camp.  Everywhere the icy routes were blood stained underfoot.  There are at least 13 fatalities, maybe more – another 60 injured.  Many have been evacuated from the camp.  We are still operational (by incredible luck) and assisting where we can.  Helicopters have been flying in all day to evacuate the wounded.  We are thankful to be safe and alive. Even now there are still small after shocks going off around us. We are unsure of what we should do – leave or stay – we haven’t made that decision yet.

(From Sean on his satellite phone this morning.  Please allow for errors in transcription due to poor signal quality)

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19 Responses to “Sean Wisedale – Mt Everest expedition 2015 – Himalayan earthquake triggers massive avalanche through Base Camp”

  1. Daniella van Heerden says on: 26 April 2015 at 12:09 pm

    Hi I am from eNCA news in Johannesburg. How can we contact the person updating this page, or Sean himself, for a possible interview or disussions?
    Daniella van Heerden – eNCA Reporter
    082 884 0179

  2. Alice says on: 26 April 2015 at 12:20 pm

    Oh no, glad to hear you guys ok, so terrible about the deaths. Be safe.

  3. shirley says on: 26 April 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Rob and Sean, Gary and i are Praying for you all ???? keep safe and come home xx

  4. Craig Cheary says on: 26 April 2015 at 12:40 pm

    Thank god you OK, was crapping myself yesterday. Be safe and come home in one piece. Shot bru

  5. cheryl says on: 26 April 2015 at 1:14 pm

    So relieved you are all safe and unharmed. Our thoughts are with all the families who have lost loved ones. Whatever decision you make will be the right one. Love Bob and Cheryl, Jbay

  6. Phil Vail says on: 26 April 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Hi Sean. We’re all glad to here you are safe. Good luck and take care brother. I hope nothing more disasterous happens. Phil.

  7. Gail Cuttler says on: 26 April 2015 at 2:50 pm

    Hi Sean and the team, just to let you know we are thinking of you guy’s and sending loads of prayers. Hang in there and wishing you all a safe journey home. Please take care. Regards Gail

  8. Rose says on: 26 April 2015 at 2:57 pm

    Wisey & team, we are following every scrap of news and thanks to Kath heard of your safety yesterday morning. Can only imagine the chaos and devastion and how you are doing what you can under these circumstances. As for the decision to stay or come home…you will make the right one! Be safe, take care and know that you are all very much in our thoughts and prayers.

  9. RykieMay says on: 26 April 2015 at 3:06 pm

    Thank our Lord that all of you are safe. Will keep all of you in our prayers. Stay safe.
    Wilmien thinking of you everyday.

  10. Peter Rowan says on: 26 April 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Jeepers Seano – take it easy up there! We can’t be left looking after your wife and daughter alone!! But as so many have been saying, there could hardly be a better man around to be with in a situation like this, than Sean Wisedale. Your experience, your pragmatism, your courage, your tirelessness, your instinctive sense of survival and almost super-human qualities will no doubt stand all around you in incredibly good stead. Go well and go safely Seano, and Molly and the team. We are all thinking of you flat out, and all those shattered and devastated mountain folk around you . Bestest. Pac (Father-in-law)

  11. Shaley Barnes says on: 26 April 2015 at 4:44 pm

    Thank God you’re all ok. Stay safe xx

  12. Miles Dray says on: 27 April 2015 at 12:13 am

    Glad to hear you are safe for now. In our prayer as well for those who have lost or injured family and friends. Miles & Jeanita

  13. Bryan McLoughlin says on: 27 April 2015 at 4:27 am

    thank the lord you guys all ok seano, stay safe china

  14. Janene Carey says on: 27 April 2015 at 5:32 am

    Sean, PAC said it so well! You are definitely the type of person who can best withstand this devastation. We are glued to the TV, and apart from thinking so much of you and your team, we are thinking so much of Kath & Sarah. Keep doing what you do so well. We are so looking forward to seeing you and your wonderful craziness!!! Xxx

  15. Wenette says on: 27 April 2015 at 6:28 am

    Sean, we are searching for my parents NEELS/CL CAMPHER, ZETTIE/SF CAMPHER AND NOCOLETTE KOCH (all from SA), with guide DIPAK. Last contact Gokyo Lakes on 25 Apr after 1st quake. Uncertain if they remained there or tried to descend (possible to Namache Basaar).
    ANY INFO would be appreciated on: circumstances there, rescue parties on their route etc. PLEASE GIVE DETAILS TO CLIMBERS OR RESCUE PARTIES DESCENDING.

  16. Lohan says on: 27 April 2015 at 5:44 pm

    Stay safe and all the best helpiing the less fortunate in this tragedy Sean. @Wenette and others, use Google People Finder to help spread the word for people still unaccounted for:


    Stay strong and we’re thinking of you!
    Lohan, London

  17. Charles says on: 27 April 2015 at 7:43 pm

    Hi Sean,

    I realize communications are very difficult, but would be very thankful for any help or information you can provide.

    We are looking for 4 Hong Kong girls, last seen Sunday morning at Dingboche. We understand that their possible locations could include Lobuche, Dingboche, Tengboche or Namche.

    Their names are Clara Cheung, Gloria Yeung, Julie Ng and Jessica Leung.

    We can be reached at cheungwz@gmail.com or joshua.yeoh@gmail.

    Thank you so much for your help.

  18. rose says on: 28 April 2015 at 3:03 am

    Hi Sean such an amazing,exciting,wonderful and beautiful career you choose but also dangerous thank god for his saving grace after all there is still hope for others I pray you all are safe and reach home safely and keep on praying.



  19. Roy Anderson says on: 28 April 2015 at 11:28 am

    Hi Sean or anyone who can answer. My son-in-law and two of his mates are at Dingboche at the moment. I have had contact with him and he is quite keen to learn more about this chartered flight. Who do we contact? Charles I will pass your names onto him. He might come across them.


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