Trekkers await flights in wake of Nepal earthquake
FOUR Coffs Coast locals on a trek to the Mount Everest's base camp are 'safe and well' following the deadly earthquake and avalanches that rocked Nepal.
The group of trekkers comprising Peter Weyling, Michelle McFadyen and Lee-Ann Lloyd are said to be 'counting their blessings' and 'waiting on evacuation' to Australia after altitude sickness stopped them from marking Anzac Day at Base Camp on Saturday.
They remained in Namche Bazaar today attempting to charter helicopters to get to Lukla and begin the slow task of finding flights home.
The fourth local on the Climb4Vets expedition, Russ Holland of the Westpac Rescue Lifesaver Helicopter Service, had earlier been evacuated due to illness and arrived home before the quake hit following a stint in a Kathmandu hospital.
"There were 13 people on our expedition and I'm starting to think I'm the lucky 13th member due to my own circumstances," Russ said.
"I was devastated to get so sick that I had to leave, but in hindsight it was a blessing someone was watching over me."
Crippled by illness after five days climbing, Russ relied on a helicopter medical evacuation suffering a chest infection, a stomach bug and acute mountain sickness.
It was with great relief he learned his fellow trekkers had avoided the earthquake and subsequent avalanches.
The group had planned to mark the Anzac Day dawn service at base camp on Saturday, but had changed plans due to sickness.
"The rest of the group left base camp on Thursday and were two or three days away before the quake hit and the double avalanche occurred," Russ said.
"They felt the earthquake and experienced the aftershocks and fortunately they were out of harm's way.
"We are communicating with them via mobile phone and our tour operator is trying to organise an air evac with private or emergency helicopters so they can arrange flights home," he said.