Barak Columbus, a 24 year old trekker who was caught in the Annapurna Mountains snow storm, harshly criticizes the conduct of the Nepal authorities

The Annapurna Mountains rescues

The Annapurna Mountains rescues AP/Channel 2 News

The Annapurna Mountains snow storm caught Barak Columbus, a 24 year old trekker, at the last camp before those which were hit by the deadly avalanche. In a conversation with Channel 2 News, he harshly criticizes the local authorities: “Not only are they not rescuing anyone, but they continue to send tourists here. The Nepalese know that there were people missing and killed and they just mislead tourists”.

Searches after the trekkers trapped by the storm which caused the deadly avalanche in Nepal continue, among them some Israelis. In a conversation with Channel 2 News one of them harshly criticizes the local guides, who “pressure people to go up the mountain” and the authorities’ omission. “Not only are they not rescuing anyone, but they continue to send tourists here”.

Barak Columbus, 24, is currently staying at the guest house nearest to the part of the mountain which was hit by the avalanche, in the Annapurna Mountains in the Himalayas. “We have been here since October 1st; we are at the last camp before the range at 4900 meters. We arrived here Monday morning and left the next day with some 200 people who started climbing toward the mountain range, which include 34 Israelis, and the three Israelis who were killed”, Barak recounted. “We saw that the snow had piled up and was about one meter high, but the guides and the carriers put a lot of pressure on us. They told everyone it was possible and worth it”.

He says the locals trying to pressure the tourists were indifferent to the storm: “Most of them started climbing at 5 am. My spouse, Tamar and I decided to wait, but then we saw that everyone was going up, so we also started and after about an hour we couldn’t go any further”.

Barak claims that “the Nepalese tell tourists it’s ok because they don’t want to hurt their economy. The Foreign Ministry and the embassy told us to wait for them to rescue us, but it doesn’t seem that that’s happening. What we know right now is that tomorrow the Nepalese military may come, an expedition funded by Israel, to rescue us. But that’s how it’s like almost every day. Yesterday they said helicopters couldn’t land here, but then we saw French helicopters”.

The Foreign Affairs Ministry said in response that “they are familiar with the case; the ministry is taking care of matters via the authorities in Nepal and the insurance companies”.